When someone stops attending Small Group, what do you do? Do you have any responsibility to chase after them? Or should you just let them go?
Small Group Leaders are the first line of defense when caring for men and women disengaging from involvement. If you notice that someone is disengaging from church attendance or from coming to Small Group gatherings, plan to reach out to them.
- You can ask: “I noticed that you haven’t been at Small Group, and I wanted to find out if there was a reason for that and how life is going?” This could be over the phone, over email, or over coffee.
- If they don’t have healthy reasons for disengaging, they should be encouraged to consider reengaging in a Small Group (whether it’s yours or another’s), and they especially need to reengage at the church and make sure they don’t “forsake the assembly of believers” (Hebrews 10:25). Christians without other believers in their life are in a dangerous situation.
- If they don’t respond to you or if you see no change in their behavior, this may be cause to involve others–especially if they are a member of the church. Members are those who have formally committed to the church, and that means that all of us as fellow members have a responsibility to help them be shepherded, wherever they are at. This means working your Coach and Elder to follow-up with this brother or sister.
Elders are Involved Too
You are not the only person involved in these group members’ lives. Each month, our elders discuss how to best shepherd College Park members who are disengaging from church life. They use data that we know to find out who are disengaging members that need some help. Many of these members are currently in Small Groups, so staff or elders may reach out to you as their leader to find out if you know anything about their situation. If you aren’t able to reach them, your Coach and Elder will want to get involved in helping find out where this person is so that the best next steps can be taken.
If I Know Someone Has Left
If an exiting person’s circumstances don’t warrant further involvement (because of sin, etc.), you’ll want to do two things:
- Update your Small Group roster in Mobile Tools to remove them from the group. Feel free to contact the Small Group staff if you have questions about how to use Mobile Tools.
- Encourage them to fill out a Member Exit Form or contact the church if they have left the church completely and need to remove themselves from membership. You are also welcome to contact the church so that staff and leadership know that this person is exiting membership. (As a note: their membership is not fully “removed” until they are voted out by the elders/church.)
It’s a blessing to be a part of shepherding people into community and shepherding people out of community, even though we’ll inevitably be sad at some level to see our brothers and sisters leave.