The Small Group of One (or Two)
Team D-- the NCC Discipleship Team-- is writing a series of blogs about things that no one ever told us about small group leadership. Today, I talk about what to do when no one shows up.
My first small group leader experience started during my junior year at Louisiana State University. I was so excited! I had actually first mentioned I would be interested in leading a group way back in second semester of my freshman year, so I was thrilled that I had finally been "tapped," trained, approved, and unleashed to start. My co-leader, a graduate student from Kenya named "Daniel," and I prepared with great excitement and gathered with great anticipation on that first Friday night. The great anticipation began to wane when the clock struck 7 and no one had shown. Five minutes, ten minutes. Daniel and I talked, prayed, and looked forward to the next week.
The following week...similar story. Two weeks turned into three. We found ourselves watching The Muppet Show on Friday nights while instead of leading the vibrant, exciting group that we had looked forward to.
No one ever told me that folks might not show up on the first night of group meetings. Or the first two months of group meetings. What do you do when you lead a small group of one?
I'm glad that's part of my story. Because I hope it's encouraging to others who find themselves in similar situations. Here are 10 things I encourage leaders to consider when they find themselves home along on Week #3 of their small group:
- Use it as an opportunity to pray, journal, and prepare. If you have a co-leader, recognize that it might be a great time to invest in one another.
- Enjoy all those snacks you prepared-- pretty soon, you will have to share them with other people. (you think I am kidding...)
- Make sure that you are actively inviting people to your group.
- Seek counsel from a pastor or coach to see if maybe you need to switch topics or nights. Sometimes, our best idea isn't the right idea for a certain season. Or sometimes, we just need to make a simple shift in the schedule.
- Incorporate worship time and sing at the top of your lungs. No one will be there to hear you.
- Utilize the time to pray for people that you would like to invite to the group.
- Use the time to call, text, facebook message encouragement to other leaders, to people you are praying for, or to people you would like to see in the group.
- Get out of the house and do a prayerwalk or find a creative way to serve someone in the neighborhood.
- Watch the Muppet Show (it worked for us)
- Most importantly, do not give up! Discipleship is the most important thing we can do. Hang in there. God will eventually bring people to your group...and you will be more thankful for them than you would have been otherwise.
And whatever you do, don't grow too accustomed to your smallest group. You don't want to end up like this guy: