by Steve Cordle
Our group had one of those weeks leaders love: several new people came to our meeting for the first time.
The meeting went well, but it reminded me how hard it can be for someone to take the leap to attend a group for the first time. After all, they need to sit in the living room of someone they may not have met, to do something they have never done before with several people they may not know. And if they aren’t confident in their faith, they can feel out of their element.
Here’s what we tell our leaders about making first-time attenders feel relaxed:
– Explain everything as you do it. “We are going to center on Jesus’ presence now in a moment of worship…” or “Turn Mark 5… it is in the New Testament, toward the back of the Bible”, or “Each week we pray together like this…”
– No “inside” talk among older members
– Be careful about specifically calling on a first-timer; do it sparingly and never with a “right or wrong” answer kind of question.
– Don’t call on someone (even an existing member) to read the Scripture text; ask for a volunteer instead. Many people are uncomfortable reading, and the visitor might be wondering if you’ll call on them next.
– Be relaxed about their presence so they can be.
– Follow up with a call to the new person after their first visit
What other ideas do you have about first-time visitors to a group?