It has been a fact of life in Sunday School that approximately 50% of the people on your group’s roster (ministry list) will not be present on any given week. You may average, say, 12 people in your group – but it can feel like a different group every week based on who is in attendance. You’ll probably have a small core of committed people who are there each week. But the rest of the people seem to rotate through the group over the course of a month. That’s the way it is in the group I’m a part of.
I say all that to say, “the forgotten” are those who are not present when your group gathers for Bible study. I call them “the forgotten” because it is our tendency to focus on the people who are present and to forget about those who are absent. In many of our groups, “the forgotten” is a growing, significant number. My group has about 30 people on our class ministry list; on any given week, about 15 to 16 of us will be in attendance. That means there are anywhere from 15-16 absentees each week! If someone from the group doesn’t reach out to them immediately, they become part of “the forgotten.”
Serving the forgotten
To better serve the absentees who we know are going to be missing in our next Bible study, consider any of the following:
- Downsize your group (start a new one) and get your group to the size that you as a leader can actually manage, and that includes following up weekly with the absentees in your group.
- Organize your group into small care teams that do the bulk of the follow-up with absentees.
- Encourage your group to participate in each Bible study you offer. Yes, I realize that attendance patterns have changed and people come less frequently, but that doesn’t mean we give up encouraging people to do the right thing and “not forsake their gathering together” with fellow believers.
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