My wife and I began a new Bible study group at our church just a few years ago. This Easter we’re meeting for Bible study before the late worship service. If your group is also meeting, it’s possible you’ll have some Easter guests. Here are seven ways you can put your best foot forward and take advantage of the guests who step into your Bible study for the first time:
- Wear name tags. I can’t tell you how important it is for people in groups to wear simple peel-and-stick name tags! Name tags help people get to know each other, and they help guests feel relaxed because they can talk with people and call them by name. This is my normal practice in my Bible study group, and many guests have thanked me after the session is over because the name tags helped them engage people in conversation.
- Have extra copies of the Bible. You won’t need many, but three or four copies of the Bible should always be handy in case a guest arrives without one. This recently happened in my group, and I’m thankful that we had a copy to place in a man’s hands that came without one. Your church may even have complimentary copies to give away. If so, have a few in the location where you meet for Bible study.
- Plan a get-to-know-you activity. Rather than jumping into the Bible study this week, consider starting your group time with an activity that builds community. Have people talk about their favorite Easter memory from childhood, the most memorable activity they’ve done as a family on Easter, where their favorite Easter meal took place (and what they ate), or a family Easter tradition that has been meaningful to them over the years. Get the group members sharing, and you’ll help your guests relax and become part of the conversation quickly.
- Follow up quickly with guests. Set aside 30-60 minutes on Easter Sunday afternoon to send a follow-up email to each guest that came to your Bible study. If you have their phone numbers and have time, make a few calls and visit with the person. Ask if they have questions about you, the group, or your church. Research has shown that the faster we follow up with our guests, the higher the percentage that they return!
- Have extra copies of your curriculum. If your group is using a particular Bible study, have extra copies. When my wife and I were visiting churches prior to joining our current one, several small groups we tried did not provide us with a copy of the material they were studying, so we felt like outsiders. Give each guest a Personal Study Guide and invite them back to the group’s next Bible study.
- Provide a breakfast snack. Something simple (donuts, the old stand-by) or a breakfast quiche and some coffee or juice can provide a way for people to fellowship while they eat, and it may also be an unexpected treat if you’re not used to doing this.
- Proactively introduce guests to members of the group. I make it my practice to quickly meet any guest who comes to my Bible study. I then introduce them to another person or couple in the group. I want to help them start making connections with others, so I quickly hand them off to people with whom I know they’ll have something in common.
Ken Braddy manages Lifeway’s adult ongoing curriculum and teaches an adult Bible study weekly. He blogs about Sunday School and groups at kenbraddy.com.