I had seen John at church several times. He and I started our friendship during a camping trip. I knew he needed to get going spiritually, and I had been praying for him. One evening, I saw him at church after he had dropped one of his kids off at an activity. I had asked God to give me someone to invite to my men’s group that week, and I felt God tugging at my heart to invite John. I wasn’t sure how he would respond, but I plunged ahead.

“Hi John! How’s it going?”

He looked at me and said, “Ok, I guess.”

“Hey I was wondering, do you have a small group you attend regularly?” I asked.

John got an amused smile on his face and said, “Funny you should say that. I was talking with my wife at dinner and told her I needed something to get me spiritually geared up.”

“Well,” I smiled at him, “I have a men’s group that meets on Monday evenings. Why don’t you give it a try?”

“I think I will,” he said.

John tried the group that Monday night. During the group, he made a tearful re-connection with God and a meaningful connection with the men who prayed for him. He has not missed a meeting in over a year.

Highly effective small group leaders build several disciplines into their schedule. One that is often overlooked, but highly important, is the habit of inviting new people to the group.

The third habit of the highly effective small group leader: Invite new people to visit the group weekly.

Dave Earley, 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders (Touch Outreach Ministries, 2001).