There’s just no way around it, and numbers don’t lie: 50% of the people on your group’s ministry list (class role) will not be present on any given Sunday. If you teach a group that averages 12 people in attendance, you most likely have 12-15 people who are going to be absent. You’re still the teacher of those absentees, too. So don’t just teach the people who come to your group’s Bible study – teach to the 50% who are not there, too! Here are three easy ways to do that:
- Send each absentee a handwritten note. By taking time to do this, you are not teaching the lesson, but you are teaching the person they are important to you and the group. Today, handwritten notes are special, and they communicate that you value the other person. That’s a good message to send.
- Email each absentee and summarize the lesson they missed. With a little copying and pasting, this won’t take very long at all. Quickly summarize the Bible study’s main points, core verses, and how you suggest applying the text to life this week. It’s not quite as good as being in the Bible study, but it’s better than missing out on the study completely. If you teach a group of youngsters who don’t have email addresses yet, simply send your email to the parents and say, “I missed little Johnny Buford in class this week. We learned that ___________ as we studied from __________; here are a few ways we decided we could obey God: ________________. I hope to see Johnny in class next week.”
- Use an “ongoing” curriculum and give absentees their own copy. A friend of mine once said, “Discipleship doesn’t take a week off.” By providing your group with ongoing curriculum, you provide each member and guest with a study tool they can use at home to prepare for class, or to follow up after a study. If you teach younger children, your curriculum will have take-home sheets that summarize each study and have ideas for parents to engage their children in spiritual conversations. Providing ongoing curriculum helps absentees keep up with the group. It also allows you to teach the 50% who are not going to be present on any given week.
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