In this audio from our October 2014 Leader Meeting, pastor Jay Hendricks explains how to welcome new people into your LifeGroup:
Let’s say someone came to one of your Gatherings. The speaker made an announcement along the lines of, “we believe the church isn’t a once a week service, it’s a group of people who daily live out the gospel in their community. The way we do this at Midtown is through LifeGroups. So sign up for a LifeGroup!” The person accepted the challenge, signed up for a group, and is now placed in yours! So what’s next? Here are a few pointers on how to be welcoming and inviting to your new LifeGroup member.
Phone Calls are Always Better
It’s so easy for people to miss an email, or read it only to be distracted and forget a few minutes later. So, with us wanting to be as hospitable and inviting to new folks as possible, it’s best to start with a phone call. If they don’t answer, leave a message. It’d probably be a great idea to combo a phone call with an email as well, as long as the phone call happens. Don’t write someone off as not responding to your invite if you haven’t called them.
Meet with Them Sometime During their First Week
One great way to welcome someone into your life (and LifeGroup) is to go out and grab lunch with them sometime during the week of their first LifeGroup. You can meet with them before their first meeting to highlight what your group does and what their expectations are for a LifeGroup, or after the first LifeGroup meeting once they’ve had a chance to meet you. Either way, the main point is to make them feel welcome and get to know them personally. It may be difficult for some people to talk about themselves amongst ten people they don’t know.
Make Sure They Are Invited to Your "Third Place"
We recommend our LifeGroups having three “places” to hangout each week. And don’t worry; it’s not as much time commitment as you think.
The first hangout time is your weekly group meeting. The second is at a Sunday gathering. The third is a regular “rhythm” that your LifeGroup has to invite others to. This can be a weekly lunch, happy hour, or a farmer's market. We call this your “Third Place”, and it’s a great and easy way invite people into your LifeGroup without inviting them to your weekly meeting, which can be intimidating.
For the newest member of your group, your Third Place can be a low pressure, fun place where they can just hang out and get to know everyone a little bit better.