Do you have group members that are habitually late to the Mom Heart group meeting? Are you the one that arrives late? Every group has experienced this at some point. Read on for some ideas of how to handle the latecomers.
- Examine your own habits. Are you starting the meeting 30 minutes late each week? Are you not prepared when the women arrive? You are helping to form the habits and expectations of the group.
- Begin the meeting when you have stated that it will begin. If you plan to casually socialize each week for 30 minutes and then begin the discussion, make this known. Don't be upset when some arrive in time for the discussion portion only. Is it your expectation to begin the discussion at the stated start time? Make this known as well and then stick to it. Honor those who have managed their time and begin promptly.
- Don't make a fuss when someone arrives late. If you stop the discussion to make a big "to-do" over the newcomer, you will lose the flow. Allow the latecomer to step in and sit down quietly. If you have a member that insists on making a big production of her arrival, ask her one-on-one to please sneak in quietly in the future so that the discussion can continue unhindered.
- Allow for life. Sometimes, there is nothing a woman can do to get there on time. It might be that her husband's work doesn't allow him to get home on time or that he doesn't make the effort. Have grace for this woman- much of her life is likely difficult already. In our group, one woman has an engagement earlier in the evening that doesn't allow her to arrive on time. She kindly let me know and I assured her that I would leave the front door unlocked so that she can just slip in and join us. It is not a disruption and we are so glad that she still attends even though it's a busy evening for her.
- Are you the latecomer? What can you do to add margin to your life so that you aren't habitually tardy? Plan to leave a full 15 minutes early each week. Even if you arrive 15 minutes early to your destination, you can sit in your car and have some quiet! Are you late because you are afraid of making friends? Ask the Lord for courage and make a plan to speak to just one woman when you arrive. Also, consider the honor you are giving your leader by making the extra effort to be prompt. It really will bless her.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. Eccl. 3:1
Having people arrive late can be trying to a leader's patience, especially if you are a chronically prompt person yourself. Remember that the Lord gave you bountiful grace and you can certainly have grace for your group members.Any other ideas for handling latecomers in a gracious way?