Tips for getting started

In a recent blog post, Mark Howell suggested several great tips for starting a new small group well. Regardless of how long (or how little) you have been leading a Journey Group, I think you'll find something here helpful as you get your group off and running this year. Preparing for Your First Meeting

  • Call your group members early in the week at a time when they'll likely be home. Don't just leave a voice mail message. At this stage, personal contact is critical.
  • Enlist someone to help you make the calls. Increased buy-in is important.
  • Ask each person to bring something (cokes, chips, etc.). This cements their attendance. They're much more likely to show if you're depending on them.
  • When you call them your enthusiasm is very important. Get yourself ready to call.
  • Make a map to your house and send this out a week ahead of time. Email can work great for this.
At the first meeting
  • Recruit another member of two to be there early and help greet people at the door.
  • Have name tags and markers ready at the door.
  • Start your group off with an informal "meet and greet" session. The agenda for this meeting is all about helping people feel relaxed and comfortable with the other members of their new group.
  • Arrange for an uninterrupted session (i.e., childcare needs, food prepared in advance, etc.).
  • Make sure everyone knows the plan for the next meeting before you dismiss.
Follow-up after the first meeting
  • Call or touch base with each person who attended the meeting to encourage them. This extra step helps them to continue to forge a relationship with you. Look for them at church. Any contact in between meetings will help cement them to their new group.
  • Call all of your new group members a couple days before your next meeting. Don't assume that they'll remember. They need your encouragement.
The beginning of the year is the most critical time for helping people "stick" in a group. Whether they are joining an existing group or part of a new group, new group members need a little extra attention. If we help them past this hurdle, then we'll have the privilege of their involvement for the long haul.
UncategorizedDave Irwin