By Cynthia Considine
Here are some of the things that I have found to be helpful when preparing for a Huddle Up:
#1. Publicize the date, time and location early and often! I find that most small group point people are very busy with competing priorities at their churches or places of work. Research shows that we generally need to hear about something 4 times before we act. I usually alert huddle members one month out, then two weeks out send out another reminder. The week off is when I will typically receive solid RSVP’s or regrets. Also, at each Huddle up, be sure to announce the dates/locations for the remainder of the year so that they can mark their calendars!
#2. Create an agenda. Even though you have proposed a topic for the meeting, often times SG Point People are so eager to learn more and will inevitably ask follow-up questions and get off the main topic. That is ok! Pay attention to some of the side topics and jot them down. Use those for future meetings!
#3. Share info regarding the Small Group Network at each Huddle Up! Is there an Accelerate or Lobby conference coming up? Do the members know about the Social Media channels? Does everyone know about the new phone ap and intro video that features our founder Steve? Show them how they can connect to the larger network by introducing a tool each time you meet!
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#4. Add value to the meetings! Try mixing in a guest speaker on occasion. Does any of the members of the huddle have a fun new idea for a connection event? Has anyone had major success in recruiting new leaders? Ask them to present an upcoming meeting. Encourage the use of handouts and slides if possible. Did you meet someone really awesome at Accelerate or the Lobby? Contact one of the folks you met and ask them to skype in on a meeting and present about things they ae doing.
#5. Encourage huddle members to connect with each other outside of the regular meeting times. Share the contact list with the group, include dates of everyone’s leader trainings, groups kickoff events on your follow-up notes to the group. This way, if they are able to visit other churches events, they will feel more welcomed to do so. In my region we are now in the habit of sharing our small group shirts with each other. We kind of operate by a “give one, get one” mentality. We have also created a “DMV Small Groups Point People” Facebook page for the members of all the huddles in the area to stay connected to each other!