Because maturity involves helping others pursue God, a mature small group will develop an others-centered mentality. They will care about the people who aren’t there yet as much as the ones who are. Thus every group should strive to be invitational. There are certain times in a group’s calendar where inviting is easier and makes sense.
As you get started
Of course you will focus on inviting as the group gets started. Talk to your pastor about how you can do a “crowd” invite. Different churches use different methods of spreaking the word. Use a welcome table or lobby display to promote available groups. Make a promotional video. Introduce small group leaders from the platform during services, or make a pulpit announcement. Print group information in the bulletin or feature it on the church’s web site. But understand that most people don’t attend a small group because of a generic announcement.
Most people attend a group because they were personally invited. Get your team together and brainstorm everyone you can think of to invite. Invite everyone you know. (Use the Group Launch Plan worksheet to help you think about who to invite.) Be intentional about meeting people in the lobby before and after services. Be friendly, and invite everyone you meet to check out your group.
Don’t ever stop!
Once the group has started, don’t quit inviting! Make it part of the regular rhythm of the group. Here are some great times to invite newcomers:
- Whenever you start a new series. A new study series puts everyone on the same footing. It feels like a natural place to start when you’re a newcomer.
- Whenever you start up again after a break. When the group is coming back from a summer off, or resuming after Christmas, be sure to invite people to join you as you start up again.
- Special events. Whther the group is planning a social outing – like a concert or exhibit – or doing a service project, that’s a great opportunity to include people who haven’t come before. Whatever you plan, always be thinking about the people who aren’t there yet.
- Plan regular invitational events. When you’re starting up, don’t just make an invitation to the regular study. Plan a picnic or barbecue or some other fun events that will make it easy for your group members to invite and for guests to accept. Then start the new study on the following week.
If you are creative, your team can think of many ways to incorporate an invitational element into your group’s life.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Why is it easy for a group to stop being invitational?
- Of the ideas above, which ones would work in your group, and why?
- Which ideas would not work well in your group, and why?
- What other strategic times and methods to invite can you think of?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.