Ahhh, the party. That sometimes uncomfortable thing that forces me out of my comfort zone and into the lives of people. Fun? I don’t have time for fun…too many serious things that need to happen, and if I stopped to party, one of those things might not get done. Something would slip through the cracks. God might not be happy with me. Besides, parties are for others, not me. Let the kids and students have a good time…maybe even those young adults. But my group? Party? Why on earth would I want to have a regular time we get together and have fun?
If you’ve ever asked yourself those questions, or thought that your Bible study group didn’t need to party from time to time, maybe it’s time to think about partying in a whole new way.
Parties are powerful. Used in the right way, they are opportunities to help your group members make some great connections with others. Parties can be the social glue that holds your group together.
3 Reasons Why Your Group Needs to Party More
First, parties allow you to “connect the unconnected.” Often, Bible study groups forget about using parties as a tool to connect new people to the group. Savvy groups invite non-members to their get-togethers, and people actually become part of the group before they officially become part of the group. Did that make sense? People can begin to connect emotionally and relationally to a Bible study group before they ever attend a Bible study. Just make it a habit to invite them to every party, fellowship, get-together, or whatever your group calls it. Parties aren’t just for the regular attenders…they are for the “not yet members,” too.
Second, parties allow you to reach out to the chronic absentee. You know that awkward feeling you get when your are about to send an email or call a chronic absentee, right? You ask yourself, “Will they respond negatively because I haven’t reached out to them quicker? Why didn’t I call them when they were absent the first time or two?” It’s a lot less awkward to reach out to a chronic absentee with an invitation to the group’s next fellowship. “Hey, John, just wanted you to know we’d love to have you and Jennifer come to our cookout this Saturday afternoon,” or “Just wanted to know if we can save you a spot at our bowling night?” are much easier to say than, “Hey, we’ve noticed you’ve been absent from the group for a month…are you guys getting a divorce? Is everything OK?”
Finally, parties help your group members connect on new and different levels. When your group gets together for party, you get to know people in ways you just can’t in a classroom or a living room. People tend to “let their hair down,” and you see a side of people you never see during your group’s Bible study. That person you had pegged as a stoic might actually turn out to be a live wire outside the group’s Bible study time. You can learn a lot about people outside the group’s normal meeting time.
If your group isn’t in the habit of having regular parties, get some on the calendar! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Go bowling
- Attend a play
- See a movie
- Have a picnic in the park
- Take a short road trip
- Visit a museum
- Start a supper club that meets weekly or monthly
- Have a progressive dinner in homes of group members