Lyle Schaller wrote many years ago, “New people need new groups.” Schaller said that existing groups don’t assimilate new members well, and churches should start new groups for new people.
About a year ago Debbie and I started a Sunday morning class for younger adults, which in our church is anybody under 65. The intent was to gather all our younger adults who did not attend Sunday School into a new class just for them. Instead we actually attracted new people. Our class of about 12 now has all new members or guests, with one exception, who have joined since we have been here in Chatham.
It has taken about a year for the class to “gel” — for members to know one another well enough to want to spend time together. We’re heavy on the fellowship end and a little light on the study part, but that seems to be working for now. We have done several book studies, and right now we’re reading Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love. Ages range from the 30s to the 60s, married and single.
This is the group from which our new spark will come. They are excited, energetic, and want to include others. For Christmas one member suggested we wrap small, inexpensive gifts to give to our homebound senior adults. That project really gave the class an opportunity to bond and do something good in the process.
So, I’m with Lyle Schaller — new people do need new groups. Sometimes it happens unexpectedly.