Every visionary group leader is thrilled when a new group member attends the group meeting for the first time. The group leader envisions how the new group member will positively affect the group and how the group will affect that new group member. The elation that is experienced by the group leader often comes to an abrupt end when the first time group member is there a few weeks but then stops attending.
In order for a new group member to remain with the group, it’s important that we understand three unusual types of new group members and respond to their needs accordingly.
Type 1: The Hesitant Hellion… The Hesitant Hellion may be a believer or not. This person was most likely invited by a group member and is still (and maybe proudly) involved in stuff most group members would cringe to hear about, sinful activities that overly churched legalists deem out of bounds for any group member to be involved in. These people are probably not yet followers of Christ. They’ve come to check out the group and see if they will be welcomed just as they are. If a group leader realizes or suspects a Hesitant Hellion has shown up, be sure to speak of your own struggle with sin (and if you’re willing, a specific sin) and thank the group for not being judgmental. Also, when the Hesitant Hellion isn’t with the rest of the group, state how grateful you are to be in a group where we’re all growing but that none have arrived at perfection yet.
Type 2: The Overzealous Extrovert… The Overzealous Extrovert owns the room. From the very first engagement with the group this person feels at home and is looking for an opportunity, not just to be in the group, but to be heard by the group. Be certain to engage them in the Bible study conversation as soon as possible but don’t allow them to be so overly talkative that others lose respect for them.
Type 3: The Underzealous Introvert… The Underzealous Introvert is simply a person who feels uncomfortable with new people. Before the meeting, after the meeting, and during snack times, be certain you or someone else is conversing with them. If they feel uncomfortable, and often feel uncomfortable when others are carrying on a conversation and they are standing alone, they may not return to the group. Also, during the conversational Bible study allow them to enter the conversation at their own pace.