WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? When a class member is absent for three weeks, absence becomes a habit. Absentees often begin to feel guilty about not attending. Attending members also begin to feel guilty about not reaching out. Caring relationships work to avoid that happening.
WHAT DO I DO? Because you care, reach out immediately after each absence. Make a contact–the more personal the better. In other words, make a visit or a call. Express your care, even if the member has been on vacation. How can we do so without producing guilt? Consider the following:
- say hello at the door (or by phone)
- say that you just wanted him/her to know you missed him/her in class
- remind him/her about upcoming plans for a fellowship or project
- if there was a previous prayer request, ask for an update (write it down)
- ask how you can pray for him/her and the family
- pray together
- as you part, say that you look forward to being in class together.
If the person has been absent for several weeks, extend the visit for a few extra minutes. Attempt to discover a need the class could meet. Ask the absentee if you can pick them up for the fellowship or project. Talk about recent class activities. Share your Sunday School testimony (see Sunday School Testimony: Powerful Revolutionary Tool for more details). Talk about the current lesson series.
The bottom line is CARE. Contact with care because you do and no one will have guilt!