Donald McGavern said, “Relationships are the bridges of God.” People get connected with God by first making a connection with God’s people. National surveys consistently show that 80-90 percent of those who visit a church and those who come to Christ both do so at the invitation of a family member or friend.
Your group can’t grow unless you have and keep guests. This may seem ridiculously obvious, but it is often forgotten. If no one new ever visits your group, your group cannot grow. Increase the number of guests and you will increase the amount of growth. Increase the rate of retention and you will increase the rate of growth. Increase both and you will multiply growth exponentially.
Why do some groups grow and others don’t? Why can some leaders consistently grow their groups and others can’t? The answer often lies in the issue of inviting. Those leaders and groups that consistently invite new people will grow. Those that don’t, won’t.
Occasionally I talk with group leaders whose groups aren’t growing. They act like the new people visiting their group have fallen from outer space or dropped in off a cloud. They seem to think that having new people come is a matter of fate or a mystical work of the Spirit. Now it is true that on rare occasions the Holy Spirit will supernaturally drive someone to attend a group without being invited. But this is maybe one out of every thousand guests. The other 999 times new people visit a group, it is because they were invited.
Seeing new people visit your group is very practical. Before guests will come, they need to be invited. People don’t just magically show up. Someone must take the initiative to ask them to come. Every time I have practiced the habit of inviting someone every week, the group has grown.
Every time I have not consistently invited new people to come, the group has not grown.
— The 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders by Dave Earley