We’re over halfway into January. New curriculum has been printed, Bible studies have started up again, and groups are gathering across churches on a more consistent basis at the close of a holiday rush.
We all want people to come to our Bible study group this new year, but what can we do to actually get people to attend? I believe there are five ways to help people decide to come to your Bible study group:
- Give them an assignment. If people have a job to do, they are more likely to show up weekly. Place someone in charge of nametags, announcements, or prayer time. Ask someone to lead a portion of the study, or organize group activities. One group leader that I knew had 42 different things he asked people to do, and his group’s attendance was always one of the highest among all of our adult groups.
- Pose a controversial question. Some time before the next group gathering, email or text group members something from your group’s Personal Study Guide (PSG). Call attention to a section of the PSG, such as a statement by the author, a question posed in the curriculum, a quote, or an activity. Use the PSG to pose a controversial question. Stir the pot. Urge your group members to think critically. Promise to address the question or comment during the Bible study. They’ll have to show up the following week to find out the answer.
- Preview the next session. Movie theaters have learned the value of making us sit through 25 minutes of “coming attractions.” They know that to get us to return in the near future, they need to pique our interest in the present. At the end of each Bible study, spend a minute previewing the next study, encouraging your group members to study in advance and to come prepared to engage in next week’s Bible study.
- Teach with excellence. One of the quickest ways to drive people away from your group is to get into a teaching rut. If your group members can predict what is going to take place each week, it’s time for you to shake things up. Learn to incorporate new teaching techniques each week (there are eight different learning approaches). The variety will spice things up, and your group members will appreciate the new ways they’ll be engaged each week.
- Reach out to them. It’s a mathematical fact that about 50% of your group’s members will not be in attendance each week. Normally, groups average an attendance of 50% of their enrollment. Every week group leaders should contact every absent member and discover if there is a ministry opportunity. Sometimes sickness will keep people out of Bible study. Travel will as well. But sometimes you will discover another reason someone has missed, and you’ll discover an opportunity to minister to the person and their family.
Ken Braddy is a group leader, and manages Lifeway’s adult ongoing Bible studies. He blogs daily about groups at kenbraddy.com.