3 ways to reach out to chronic absentees

Everyone who teaches a Bible study has a ministry list (although you may call it a “class role”). I prefer the term ministry list because it reminds me that the people whose names are on it need ministry from me and other members of our group.

It can be tempting to ask the church office to drop people from your list of group members who are chronically absent – but don’t! There’s a better way. It’s not necessarily an easier path, but it is a better path, for sure. If you have group members on your ministry list, but haven’t seen them in a long time, here are three ways to reach out to them:

  1. Invite them to a party – people who’ve been absent for a long time feel awkward about showing back up suddenly. Everyone likes a party, though, so plan a fellowship and reach out to every chronic absentee. It will be easier for them to reconnect with the group at a party that is away from the church. Help them take baby steps toward regular attendance.
  2. Take them a copy of your Bible study materials – I have a friend and co-worker, Dwayne McCrary, who teaches an adult group at his church. He is committed to taking a Personal Study Guide from the Explore The Bible series to each of his group members once every 3 months. A few weeks prior to the start of a new study series, Dwayne and his wife get in his car and spend a few hours driving to the homes of his group members. He presents each of them (regular attenders and absentees) with a copy of the new study materials and invites them to come get involved.
  3. Call them. I prefer that you call, not email, any chronic absentees. You may have to start the conversation with something like, “I’ve not done a great job keeping up with you” or “Forgive me for not calling sooner…” This transfers the responsibility to you, and doesn’t make the absentee feel put upon. Let them know you care, want to pray for them, and desire them to come back to your group.

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