There’s a principle that is so true: “The amount of conversation that takes place during a group meeting is directly related to the amount of conversation that takes place between meetings.” For years I viewed this as a statement declaring the importance of groups hanging out together between meetings. Getting the group together between meetings definitely influences the amount of and intensity of conversations during group meetings. However, I’ve also come to conclude that a group leader having conversations with group members between meetings is an important responsibility if that group leader longs to have transformational conversations when the group gathering happens.
If you’re a group leader and you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably saying to yourself, “I don’t have time to talk with group members between meetings—my schedule is packed.” That would be true if it weren’t for the fact that you have a cell phone. And it would be true if it weren’t for the fact that a long conversation isn’t a necessity.
A few things to keep in mind:
- A group leader can make contact with a group member via cell phone quickly and efficiently in between other activities.
- If you don’t have much time or you’re calling a very talkative group member, let him or her know at the beginning of the conversation that you only have a few minutes but you just wanted to check in.
- When calling group members to connect, simply ask them how they are doing and how you can pray for them.
- If no one answers, leave a message stating that you just wanted to know how they were doing and how you could pray for them. Don’t feel obligated to call them back. If they want to talk, they’ll call you. Be certain to leave a voicemail, though. Whether or not you get to speak, group members will be grateful and encouraged that you cared enough to call.
- If you do catch a group member on the phone, before finishing the conversation, pray a short prayer.
- If you connect with each group member just once a month, it will greatly enhance your influence on each individual and will skyrocket the amount of time it takes for group members to discuss life’s real and often under-discussed issues during group meetings.
Rick Howerton is the Small Groups and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources. He has authored many small group studies, is a highly sought-after trainer and speaker, and is the author of Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual as well as A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic. He is also the co-author of Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making and Countdown: Launching and Leading Transformational Groups. But Rick’s deepest passion and his goal in life is to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.”