I don’t know about you, but I want to be in the kind of Journey Group that laughs easily and often. There are certainly times when the group will be serious and maybe even somber, but hopefully that’s not all the time. Having fun can be one of the greatest ways to lower our relational walls and help us open up with others. With that in mind, let me suggest a couple resources to help your group have fun…
One great resource is website designed for student ministry (they definitely know fun). Their list of games and “crowd breakers” can be a great way to open your journey group time. Check out the website and see which ones your group might love to play.
Another great resource for fun is the “Minute To Win It” website. This TV show is a competition based on completing tasks within a 60 second window. Some tasks are simple and some seem to be based much more on chance than skill. It could be a lot of fun to pick on of these games and see which couple or person can do it the fastest or finish first. Check out their website for a list of games and supplies needed.
I hope you are all doing well today! As I’m looking ahead in the Journey Group year, I see a few important items that I want to share with you…
1. Even though our Journey Groups are just starting, I need help identifying people who can step up to lead groups in the future. We will be hosting a new leader orientation class in early November so that we can launch new groups for people in January. Will you help me by sending me names of people whom you think can lead a group? I’ll follow up with them and see if they are interested.
2. Our first Leadership Development night is coming up on Sunday, October 3. We’ll be meeting in EC 188 at the Old Mill Campus from 6:00 – 7:30 PM. This month we’ll discuss the most important part of your leadership…having character that’s strong enough to support your leadership.
3. As I am working to place new people in a journey group I am realizing how important it is to have up-to-date information on our groups (I can hear one of my co-workers cheering as I write this!) If you didn’t respond to the group info survey sent out earlier, will you do so now so we can better connect new people to a Journey Group? You’ll find the survey here. Thanks for your help in this!
If there’s anything I can do for you or your group, be sure to let me know.
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.