If you lead a group Bible study, or if you are a member of a Bible study group, one of the things your group must do well is to care for 5 kinds of people. There are different kinds of adults who come through most groups, and you can’t ignore any one of them if you want to be effective in ministering to people.
- Absentees – every group has a certain percentage of people who are absent whenever the group gathers for Bible study. It is not uncommon for up to 50% of group members to be absent each time the group gets together for Bible study. An effective leader will not only rejoice over those who are in attendance, but he or she will feel compelled to reach out to absentees. A quick phone call, an e-mail, or a visit in the person’s home can help reconnect an absentee to the group.
- Prospects – unless the Bible study group is closed to new members, every group should have a prospect file. It is recommended that a group have one prospect for each member of the group. Prospects should always be invited to the social activities of the group, and they should be cared for just as if they were full-fledged members.
- People in crisis – It’s a given that if you have a group of people coming together to study the Bible, things are going to get messy at some point. People will experience the ups and downs of life, and you may find yourself in the role of a “first responder.” A lost job, the sudden death of a loved one, or a wayward child may bring a group member to a moment of crisis, and you will be on the front line of ministry to that person and perhaps even his or her family. To ignore a person in crisis is to invite disaster…this is the time to reach out and make a difference, not sit idly by and hope things will get better on their own.
- Associate group members – These heroes deserve your group’s appreciation and remembrance when it’s time to get together and socialize. Associate group members may have left your group to serve other people in the church’s kids or student ministries, and they often miss adult fellowship. Keep these folks on your ministry role and invite them to every fellowship your group has. Associate members need to know they haven’t been forgotten, and they need to be affirmed for using their spiritual gifts elsewhere in the church and community.
- The regular attender – It’s easy to forget about these people, but don’t! Although the guest, the person in crisis, the associate member, and the absentee all need your time and attention, so do the loyal, always there group members. It’s easy to let these “good” group members go unthanked and unnoticed, but these are the kinds of people who need an encouraging word. Thank them for their regular attendance. Thank them for being a stabilizing factor in your group.
There you have it…5 kinds of people that groups must care for. Overlook any one of them and your attendance will feel it. Your group dynamic will suffer as well. Make it a point to take care of all 5 types of people and you’ll help your group succeed and be effective for Christ.