It’s Bigger Than You Think
Let’s say you purchase a Surviving the Holidays kit with the sole intention of showing it to your current GriefShare group. After the meeting, everyone is smiling, ready to face the holidays and thanking you for showing the special video. On the surface, it looks like the event was a total success.
Good intentions? Check.
Powerful time of ministry? Check.
Participants encouraged? Check.
Gospel presented? Check.
Full potential of event realized? Not so much.
If you only show the video to your existing group members, you’re not maximizing the potential of the kit. In fact, you miss the most strategic use of this powerful material.
Surviving the Holidays: An Outreach Tool
More than anything, GriefShare: Surviving the Holidays is an outreach tool. It’s uniquely designed to help you share the hope of the gospel with the bereaved in your community and grow your current GriefShare ministry. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t show it to your current group members. We encourage that. It’s just that, with the kit, you can do so much more! All you need to do is follow these three simple steps.
- Promote your church’s Surviving the Holidays event to your community.
- Present the Surviving the Holidays DVD seminar at your church.
- Provide a new GriefShare group for people to join in January of next year.
Let’s take a moment and briefly look at what each one of these steps involves.
This simply means letting the community know you’re having a Surviving the Holidays event at your church. The Leader’s Guide that comes with your kit explains how to do this. And we’ve created downloadable resources that you can use to get the word out. Here’s a sample of some of the items you’ll find online and in your Leader’s Guide to help you promote your group:
- Newspaper ads
- News releases
- Letters you can send to former GriefShare participants
- Letters you can send to the bereaved in your community
- Other promotional tips and ideas
Now here’s the key to promoting this event: Find someone to do it for you. Seriously. You can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all. There are bound to be people in your church who work in the field of marketing or just have a knack for promoting events. Work with this person to spread the news about your holiday event. If you plan to have a large event, you may need to empower this person to form a team to promote the seminar. Your Leader’s Guide explains more about delegating promotional responsibilities.
This is the easy part. It’s just like running a typical GriefShare group, with a few extra announcements. Once everyone arrives, you’ll watch the video and then have a time of discussion. The key thing to remember is that since this is an outreach event, you’ll probably have nonbelievers present. This will affect the dynamics of your discussion time. So you’ll want to refrain from using terminology that would only be understood by Christians.
You’ll also want to be wise about the way existing GriefShare group members and alumni participate in the event. Make sure they don’t dominate the group, form a “GriefShare clique” or use “group speak” that would be unfamiliar to newcomers. Encourage your existing group members to serve as ambassadors. You may even want to assign them specific responsibilities to make newcomers feel welcome. There’s more information about this topic in your Leader’s Guide.
As far as the extra announcements go, your Leader’s Guide explains what you’ll need to communicate. But the most important thing you’ll want to be ready to announce is the date in January that your next GriefShare group begins. And that leads us to step number three.
This is the step that grows your group. After giving your guests a taste of what a typical GriefShare group is like, you’ll want to provide a group for them early in the New Year. (They’re bound to want to come.) So at your outreach event, you’ll need to be able to tell members the exact date, place and time that your next GriefShare group meets. Your Leader’s Guide gives you ideas on how to communicate this, as well as ideas on how to collect the contact information of those who visit. That way, you can remind them about your group with a phone call, letter or email.
One of the best ways to remind your visitors about your upcoming group is to print the meeting location, date and time inside each participant’s Holiday Survival Guide. This way, you can hand them something they won’t easily discard, that contains the info about your next meeting. Over the holidays, each time they read one of the holiday devotions, they’ll be reminded of your group’s next meeting.
Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Grow Your Group
So that’s a quick overview of the Promote, Present and Provide strategy. For more information, see the Leader’s Guide that comes with your kit. And one more thing, even though Surviving the Holidays is an outreach tool, you can still share it with your existing GriefShare group. Just don’t stop there. If you do, you’ll never realize the potential of this outreach tool. And you’ll miss a great opportunity to expand your GriefShare ministry.