In the house that I grew up in we had a formal living room and a porch where guest could gather. The living room was the clean and well-kept and seldom used. It was used for special company that we might have. The porch on the other hand had a similar purpose. Of course it did not have fine furniture but it was the place where family and friends would gather almost daily
Our Sunday School and Small Groups need to work receiving our guests on the porch rather than the formal living room. Guests need to feel a part of the group. We need to invite and expect guests often. Most want to fit in and would rather not be singled out. Here are some suggestions giving your group a screened-in porch type of environment.
- Make sure the meeting place is inviting and free from clutter.
- Have someone assigned to welcome and help our guests with any need they might have.
- Refreshments for your group go a long way to enhance fellowship.
- Be early and expect guests.
- Encourage them to be a part of your group by getting their contact information and placing them on our ministry list or roll.
- Provide quality “back seats” for guests to slip in if they are running late.
- Never ask anyone to pray or read without checking with them privately before the group meets.
- Welcome participation from guests in the teaching time, planning socials or participating in ministry events your class might be doing.
- Follow-up with guests with the expectation that they will return.
- Get to know your guests and treat them as if they have been a part of your group already.
- A guest should only be a guest the first time they attend. From that first day we want them to be an equal and important part of the group.
These are some suggestions and I am sure you would have more. Feel free to post them.
Our best friends know to meet us on the porch. Those that we saw rarely would visit in the living room. May God give us the desire to reach out to others, befriend them and include them in our groups. Every guest needs to since that they are a part of something not just visiting for the day.