Which of these questions would you rather ask or be asked?
1. I'm getting together with a couple people over at Panera. I think you might enjoy getting to know them. You wanna come meet them?
2. I'm starting a small group with a couple people. We're meeting at Panera. I think you might enjoy getting to know them. You wanna come be a part of our small group?
I frequently have people who are well connected to GCC, and they want to get some people together for a group. They typically say, "We have some people in mind to ask about joining our group, but do you know of anyone that might want to join us?" (People are now familiar with our strategy for communication, so they don't ask us to post it in the bulletin.) I take the opportunity to adjust the goal.
Rather than looking for people to join your group, look for people who want to meet the people you know. Start socially. The conversation can still be very intentional to get to know one another. After a few times where it is apparent they seem to enjoy one another, talk about interest to do this more regularly; they can then talk as a group about how they'd like to spend the time together.
The foundation for a group is relationship. People will more likely commit to meeting regularly with people they enjoy, but they have to spend time getting to know one another. It happens over time. You can't rush it, but you can remain intentional about it.
I couldn't agree more with these sentiments. You can never forget that small groups are all about relationships. It isn't about recruiting people to become part of a program or ministry. People aren't "goals" or "objectives". If we treat people like that, it undermines the relational quality and integrity of the very group we are hoping to develop. First, just get into relationship with one another. Do Life Together. A regular small group meeting most likely will follow eventually.
(ht: David Rudd)