Connecting in your Group — Before

I remember the first ABF I visited. I was new on staff at the church and was going around visiting and trying to learn what my new job was about. As I went into one of our mid-singles Adult Bible Fellowship I was really impressed. This group had really thought through how to connect before the meeting.

First, they had a couple folks at the doors. They had nice smiles and a handshake. I was welcomed and led to another table to sign in if I liked. It was nice. They welcomed me. They gave me some room. That first few minutes in a new group is critical. If you lead a home group the host needs to meet everyone at the door. I’m surprised how many people don’t greet their guests at the door. It’s a great way to make your guests feel comfortable. A smile, a handshake go a long way to help new people.

The second thing they did at this ABF was to introduce me to others. They got my name right (which is a task) and then introduced me to a couple others. Those first few moments are awkward for newcomers. A smart group will find a way to help guests get to know a few people. I’m surprised how many times people don’t know each other. They may have been in your group for a long time and still don’t know names. Make sure you continue to introduce others.

It reminds me of a time I was in my ABF. A few friends and I were having a great time laughing and catching up. We had circled up with our buds. One of us happened to look outside our little group and noticed a guy literally standing up against the wall, clearly scared and looking real awkward. He was not having fun at all. One of our guys quickly opened up our circle and let the guy in. We began to pull him into our group. We were beginning to do it right.

So much good can happen before the meeting starts. So many good relationships can be strengthened or initiated. This is not throwaway time. It can make the difference in many feeling safe and welcomed. We have a phrase in our ABF, “Don’t take a seat until you greet.” Its a bit cheesy line, but it is important in helping your group connect more significantly. Use all the time of group to build your group’s friendships.


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