Our last small group ‘grouping event’ was in October. At Yorkville we have one smallish room that we use for hospitality. I am not a decorating guru, as evidenced by my last event (aptly NOT pictured here). So I went around telling people I was going to do this event and that I didn’t know what to do about making it look inviting, warm and a place people would be drawn to… I got some blank stares, some “oh you are good at that, it will be fine” and some “you just need some balloons!”. But then Lulu said, “Here’s what I think you should do…” she had such a clear vision that I asked her if she would help. What you see above is her handy work! (the not so awesome piecing of pictures is my handywork)
This is Lulu. (click picture to enlarge) She won’t be happy about this picture, because it doesn’t show her total cuteness and class! But what it does show is her attention to detail. We went with lamps for each table and she insisted we close the drapes and turn off the overhead lights to create a warm atmosphere. (that is EXACTLY what everyone said about the room too – it was so warm and inviting!)
We also made sure that each table represented the kind of group people would sign up for. Guy and I made the signs with laminated foam board and some coiled rods from Home Depot. Guy (bk and gkbk and gk) can make something out of anything – you probably have a ‘Guy’ or two at your church! Lulu and I went to Ikea to look for pieces that would display well and make people feel like home. (cause that’s where small groups meet, mostly) Other stuff came from our own homes. Football, chair, some cups, etc…
Everything else I kept SIMPLE:
- I made simple business cards for each small group leader (Name, phone number, Small Group Leader)
- I had ‘small group’ T-shirts made – I wouldn’t do that again – too much money and people are picky about what they want to wear
- I printed sign-up sheets with basic (Name & contact info ONLY) info fields – people don’t like to fill out big long surveys etc…
- I put special treats in keeping with each theme (candy for community and StuCo, Dainty treats for ladies…)
- I communicated with leaders about 2 things – when to be there and what to do when there (talk to everyone and have them put down basic info so we can call them)
- I emailed leaders names and numbers and asked them to call that same day.
- I gave away extra props when we were done. (we are a portable church, the less stuff to schlep, the better.)
A couple other things… I included StuCo small groups in our event. My Wednesday night small group (couples) has a StuCo bus that picks kids up and brings them back from Ken an Lulu’s house. (Ken’s van, TJ drives – works out great!) It’s a Big Idea thing, though. I’m thinking that if we want to have adults join small groups and we have their attention, let’s just get the whole family grouped!
Last and most importantly, within the next 7 days we had 13 new people attend small groups!