User friendly large groups are essential. Without them you can’t grow. In fact, you’ll dwindle in size as people come to the conclusion that they “don’t belong” in this group. With user friendly large groups you can experience fellowship, affirm God’s acceptance for each person, and have a lot of fun!
In user friendly meetings, visitors and regulars mingle, with regulars taking time and care to help newcomers feel at home. Among regulars you won’t find the same people only talking to each other every week, but you’ll notice effective leadership that encourages people to build relationships throughout the chapter. User friendly meetings feel welcome and with each interaction a clear message is sent; “you belong with us”, “we accept you.”
Here are a few guidelines for developing user friendly large groups:
- The leadership of the chapter needs to decide if they are serious about growing, reaching the campus. Each person in leadership should ask themselves, “Am I serious about accepting people as Christ did?” It would be unrealistic to expect your meetings to become something you yourselves weren’t committed to becoming.
- Do a little brainstorming and come up with some ideas about the following: (a) What helps you feel welcome in a new place? (b) What makes you uncomfortable in a new group? © In what ways are your current meetings user friendly or not? (d) Make a list of possible ways you can improve your meetings. Together choose the option that looks like it will help you the most and yet not be too difficult to implement.
- Think a lot about friendships. How do friendships develop? In what ways can you build bridges with newcomers by treating them as potential friends instead of “visitors”?
- Ideas for making friends:
- Reach out. Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. A smile and a hello go a long way.
- Show your interest in the other person by finding out about them. Don’t just talk about yourself, develop an ability to ask questions.
- Listening is key. If you’re in a conversation with someone, pay attention to that person; don’t let what’s going on around you distract you. Keep your mind with the person.
- Develop your friendship by investing time, sharing activities, nurturing communication, and helping one another.