Here are some tricks I’ve picked up along the way toward creating a welcoming small group environment for life-change to happen. Don’t treat this topic lightly – atmosphere sets the tone for everything.
Health Snacks are In. Oreo’s and chocolate cake may taste great, but a veggie platter, cheese & crackers, or fresh fruit are often just as satisfying. You want people to leaving feeling good about who they are, not just what they ate.
Pick the Right Room. If you’re digging deep into a text or study guide, a kitchen table gives you some space to work. If you’re trying to settle into an open-ended discussion or expect to counsel a crisis, the living room sofa would be better.
Lighting makes a Difference. Make sure the front room and porch lights are on so people know you are expecting them. Candles make a welcoming touch too!
Deck the Halls. Have fun setting out special napkins or table décor for the season. Take your bag of apples out of the fridge and place them in a pretty bowl-an instant fall decoration!
Bathroom Speed-Tidy. It doesn’t have to be clean as much as it has to feel clean. A fresh hand towel and one minute spot check with Clorox wipes is a fast way to make the bathroom look and smell like you cleaned just for company.
Full Meal Deal. Relationships really open up over dinner, so try to do a full meal every once and a while.
Doctoring Up the Store-Boughts. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time for the homemade goodies. When doing a store bought snack, you can add a lot of class by putting it on a serving platter with some fresh powdered sugar, caramel drizzle, or seasoning.
Open all Night. One of the most welcoming things you can do is to not let people leave. Keep the food and conversations rolling as long as people are willing to stay. Maybe a post-group board game or favorite TV Show tradition would help build the connections.
Pray for your guests, pray for your leader, pray for your home. If you forget everything else, at least remember to pray that people encounter the presence of Jesus in your home-that’s what they came for more than anything else.