Preparing for the meeting:
1- Order resources- If resources are needed, order a main book and a journal for each participant by clicking here.
2- Download: the liability release form for participants, the editable syllabus, and the sign in sheet
3- Edit and print the syllabus by inserting the church’s name, the meeting dates and the leader contact info in the appropriate slots; enough copies of the liability release forms and one sign in sheet to collect the participant’s basic contact information.
4- Email the participants a few days prior to the meeting (if you have contact information about who is coming)
Hi Wonderful Women!
I’m so glad you are interested in being a part of Widow Strong and our ten week 180 Your Life: New Beginnings small group, and I look forward to getting to know you and doing this experience together. Like you, I’m a widow too, and I feel certain we will find lots of common points of connection as we participate in this journey!
We will meet (date) at (time) in (space). If you have children, you can drop them off in the loving care of our awesome child care volunteers, in room (number).
Plan on being with us in this first gathering for about an hour. We will go over the schedule for the ten week course, and provide you with the necessary book and participant journal you will be using. There will be time for us to briefly meet and greet, and answer any and all questions!
See you (date and time)!
5- Gather the needed supplies:
The participant journals and books
Copies of the liability waiver
Copies of the syllabus
The sign in sheet
(optional) a small welcome/”thank you for coming” gift for each participant
Leading the meeting:
1- Room prep
Arrive 30 minutes early to be sure the room is set and ready for the group. Set out the number of chairs needed to ensure the group is “comfortably cozy”. You may wish to have some soft music or light refreshments, or a meal if you are having lunch.
2- Welcome participants as they arrive and introduce them to one another so they can begin to connect prior to the opening of the session.
3- Start the meeting
Welcome the group, and say, “Today’s purpose is to learn what to expect and to connect.”
(optional: pass out the welcome gifts)
Introduce yourself by sharing about your family, and how long you have been a widow.
4- Ask each participant to introduce themselves with the following information. Let them know there will be more time in week 1 to share in depth as they are comfortable about their grief journey. Be sure and participate in the sharing as well to create a safe and vulnerable environment.
How long were you married?
What church, if any, do you attend?
How long have you been on your widow journey?
What are your hobbies?
What brings you here?
What is your greatest challenge this week?
What are you anxious or uncertain about right now?
4- Pass out materials and syllabus– Explain that participants will be encouraged to prepare for each gathering through directed readings, as outlined in the syllabus.
5- Q & A (handle logistics, such as on site child care, etc, set expectations)
6- Pass out the liability release form. Ask each participant to review, complete and sign the form before leaving. Pass around the sign in sheet to collect participants’ email addresses and contact phone numbers for future correspondences.
7- Invite the ladies to stay after to continue the meet and greet.
8- Pray to close the meeting.
Following up on the orientation meeting:
1- Send an email within two days of the meeting.
Hi wonderful women of valor,
I’m so excited that we got to meet one another this week, and I’m looking forward to our first “real” gathering next (day of week). Don’t forget to be reading through our assigned portions, and begin the daily journaling process. This week’s reading is the Preface and Introduction, pages xix-xxvi in the main book, and pages 11-17 in the study guide and journal. Don’t worry about being fancy with your journaling, just be authentic and record your thoughts. You can decide what thoughts you feel comfortable sharing when we meet. If you want, you can always read ahead a bit in the main book. It’s not only full of helpful information, but lots of interesting stories as well.
It’s not too late to invite a widow you know! Feel free to bring someone with you, and I’ll bet she will thank you later!
One last thing!
We’d love for you to stay connected with our tribe! We have an awesome platform that we use to help us care for one another. Will you please log in and create a brief profile? The steps are very easy and our support team can offer any support you may want or need.
Here’s the link, and just so you know, you’ll receive a brief survey to help with your healing journey.
See you next (time and place)!
2- Pray for each participant often this week.