Last week we began a series of posts about "How to Communicate more Effectively to your Small Group" and we shared some tips on the mode of communication that we have found to be the most effective. This week, we want to delve further into this topic by looking at a crucial element of the communication process–building a relational connection.
John Maxwell, who is one of the premier leadership experts in the country wrote in his book, "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect" that building a connection with people, "is essential for anyone who wants to build great relationships..." How do we do that? Here are some tips for building a connection with the people in your Small Group.
Tip #1 - Make a connection with new group members quickly. As a Small Group leader one of our roles is to make people feel welcomed and loved. This needs to start the moment that they sign-up for a Small Group! The longer that we wait to connect with people, the more doubt and fear can creep into their minds which may cause them to bail on attending a Small Group.
Tip #2 - Go out of your way to make new group members feel welcome. It is really easy in the course of leading your group meeting that you forget to connect with new members. Make it a point of emphasis that whenever you have new members at your group meeting you take time to talk to them, and begin to build a relationship with them. This can be as simple as just asking them a few questions like "tell me how long you have been attending Parkway?" If you wanted to go a step farther, invite them to have lunch after church.
The biggest take-away from failing to make a connection with people in our Small Groups is, we run the risk of them not engaging at a relationship level. This can cause them to turn away from being involved in a Small Group at all! Once people have made their minds up that Small Groups are not a place where I feel accepted and welcome, it's really hard to change their mind. It's imperative that we do all that we can as leaders to connect with people relationally, which will be the foundation for us to communicate effectively.