Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tips for Friendship Gatherings

By Gaye Clark

Here are some ideas on how to start Friendship Gatherings at your church:
  • Plan ahead: Calendars can fill up fast with other obligations. Call and invite your guests about three to four weeks before you plan to host a meeting.
  • Be specific as to when you need to hear back from them, so you can extend the invitation to others if they can not attend.
  • As much as possible, invite church members who are not already close friends.
  • Follow up phone calls with written invitations. Include a map and contact information.
  • Target a meeting time of no more than two hours. Busy women are more inclined to say yes if they receive specific details as to time frames.
  • One week before your gathering, call to remind your guests of their acceptance. If “something has come up,” the information may help you adjust your shopping list.
  • Keep it simple. I like to use the same two menus and alternate them. It makes shopping and cooking easier. Also, plan a meal or dessert that can be made ahead of time. You want to spend time with your guests, not your kitchen.
  • Don’t go it alone. A hostess may well need another to prepare the meal or dessert. When you partner with another, you don’t allow your personal limitations to keep you from practicing hospitality. Team service helps us learn from one another.
  • After a gathering, don’t be afraid to follow up with someone if the Lord prompts you. Perhaps you learned that a woman who attended is not a Christian. Call her again afterwards and take a personal interest in her needs. Though a Friendship Gathering is not designed for evangelism per se, a few women at my church came to know the Lord through relationships formed at one.
  • Realize that a Friendship Gathering may sound like a great idea to you, but some women may not agree. If a woman turns down repeated invitations to a gathering, it may be that she is not interested. Be understanding if that is the case. Make a note of it so she will not continue to receive additional unwanted invitations.


Geoff and Jenn said...

Great tips! I especially like the one about sharing the hostessing since I having many hostessing short-comings. This will help me in the future to have events and feel like they will be good and achieve the goal of the gathering!