One of the purposes of RTB chapters is to create community for like-minded individuals. For some people, chapter meetings are the only place they have to connect with others who are interested in discussing science-faith topics. Because most chapters meet once a month (or every other month), it can be difficult for members to develop close relationships. So you need to be intentional in building authentic community within your chapter. It will take some extra work, but it will be well worth it. Check out our ideas for creating community in your chapters!
- Fun facts and silly stories. Most members wear a name tag at chapter meetings so attendees can get to know each other. Try adding a little more to that. Consider asking a “question of the day” that attendees can answer on their name tag. The question should be something simple to help stimulate conversation—e.g., “What’s your favorite pizza topping?,” “Are you a cat or a dog person?,” or “Do you have a unique hobby or skill?” Help chapter members learn something new about each other by asking a new question at each meeting. Keep in mind that some attendees may be unfamiliar with RTB and might even be a nonbeliever, so the questions should be something that anyone could answer.
- Prayer and follow up. Find a person or persons willing to collect prayer requests and pray for members during or outside of meetings. In addition to this, follow up with people. Call, text, email, or even make some time to get coffee with individuals who have asked for prayer. Another idea is to create a group message for everyone to stay in touch between chapter activities. Facebook Messenger, Google Hangout, and Slack are all good options and there are many more choices out there.
- Invite members to use their skills and passions. Ask members what their skills and passions are and find ways to use them in chapter meetings. If someone in the chapter enjoys photography, ask them to take pictures at meetings and post photos on the chapter’s Facebook page. If someone in the chapter is a nutritionist, ask them to provide (or suggest) healthy snacks. Maybe someone has a passion for connecting with people and praying for them. Ask them to be a greeter and put them on the prayer team mentioned above. This will encourage members to connect more with the chapter and one another.
These are just a few ideas, but there are plenty more that can help create a strong community within your chapter. If there is something you have been doing that helps people get connected, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.