You’ve definitely got invisible people in your Bible study group. I have them in mine. I think I may have accidentally neglected them. Last week at a conference, the guest speaker saw me in the audience and addressed me as “Mr. Sunday School.” He was simply recognizing my ministry as a teacher, my role as a leader at LifeWay, my Sunday School/groups blog (the one you’re reading now!), and my many years in church education ministry. The trouble is, though, I don’t feel much like “Mr. Sunday School” because I have failed the invisible people in my group. Who are they? They are the same ones you have in your group.
The “invisibles” are those wonderful adults who are so regular in attendance you don’t have to worry about them being absent; they are the glue that holds your group together. In fact, you’re surprised when they aren’t present for the group’s Bible study. These “invisibles” are forced to take a back seat as less-regular group members vie for your attention. If you’re like me, my mind makes a mental list of people who are not present for Bible study. I find my mind wondering where they are, how they are doing, what they are doing, and if they need any ministry from the group. I do this at the expense of the regular attenders who are there week-in, week-out. Shame on me.
I’m committing to do a better job of honoring my “invisibles.” No longer will I let these adults who are so regular in their attendance go un-thanked or be under-appreciated. Here are 4 ways you and I can recognize the invisibles in our groups:
4 Ways to Appreciate and Honor your Invisibles
- Send a thank-you note. A hand-written note to express your appreciation for their regular attendance is a good starting point for putting these terrific people back on your mental radar.
- Recognize them in the group’s Bible study. There’s nothing like public recognition! Take time to say thanks in front of the entire Bible study group. Let the group members hear your honest and sincere appreciation for the ones who anchor the group by their regular, ongoing presence. If something is important to you, it will become important to your group; public recognition says, “This is important.”
- Give a gift. A small book, a gift card to their favorite coffee house, or some other token of appreciation is a tangible way to let them hear, see, and experience your thankfulness.
- Invite them to your home for dinner. Make them the honored guest and spend an evening with them. Cook a favorite meal, watch a movie, or play some games. Put them at the center of your attention for the evening. Place them on a pedestal.
So, in an attempt to begin honoring my most regular group members, I want to give a public shout-out to Phil & Joy Dahl, Wayne & Kathleen Comer, Leon Jones, Randall & Jackie Davis, Allen Comfort and his wife Arlene, and my wife, Tammy. These people are the ones I count on weekly to be present. And they are. If I ran the numbers, I imagine they are all in the 85-90% attendance range. Thank you! Thank you! You don’t have to be a part of our Bible study group, but you are. I’m grateful. And I love you all. You won’t be invisible any more.