So you’re ready to start your own Pondering? Excellent. Congratulations. There is a need for Christian “safe spaces” to explore new ideas and reflect on cultural occurrences.
Where on the path are you?
1. Gang of One. Starting out, figure out why you are doing this. What is the specific reason YOU like the Pondering? If it’s just friends, go to a bar or Meetup.com. If it’s talking about books, go to a library or a book club. There are many wonderful avenues that already exist. Don’t reinvent the wheel!
However, if it’s something else, something that only the Pondering can provide, then figure out what it is that makes it DIFFERENT from everything else. This difference is what makes it worth doing.
This is going to be your rally point, your banner. Each person has their own, and you may need to change your pitch depending on what’s important to you or the other person. Check out our testimonials if you need inspiration as to why people join the Pondering.
2. Form your Holy Huddle. This is hard if you’ve moved to a new place or making friends isn’t natural. However, it is crucial. You don’t have to have signed and committed soldiers by your first Pondering, but you should have an idea of who’d be a good fit for your right and left hand.
There are some things you can do to test. Have good conversations about deep things in casual settings. If this is difficult for you, try this: Discuss something out of the Inspiration Outlet. It can be over a lunch break, over text, or invite someone over for a meal, coffee, or wine. Your medium of consumption will set the mood for the evening, and food naturally brings people together. No idea what to say? Check the Scripts folder for some samples.
3. First Meeting or “The Hump.” Once you have 1 official, good Pondering where you explain the beginning, purpose, and direction of the Pondering, people tend to get on board and self-perpetuation becomes easier. Find a time that works for people. If you cast a net that includes 6-12 people, and half show up, you have a good start.
This part is very hard. Don’t confuse incompatible logistics with disinterest. A lot of times, people are busy, or things happen, or stuff pops up. Don’t lose heart! Just keep trying. We’ve had 2 Founders whose first meeting was 6 months past the desired start date. And that’s ok. Everyone was interested, it was solely a matter of “logistics.” Just keep at it.
Remember at the first meeting to go over how the Pondering got started, what it’s purpose is, and how members at your Pub can contribute to its direction. Some Founders just walk their Pub through the website. Show the Youtube video. Explain why you’re a part of it. It may feel sales-y and you may feel awkward if you’re not used to it. That’s ok! People understand, and the value they’re receiving by fully understanding what they’re getting into allows them to make a informed commitment instead of being blindsided later down the road.
4. Decent Structure.
Once you’ve had your first official Pondering, before the end of the night, gauge interest and set the next meeting. Ideally, you should schedule the next one for 1 or 2 weeks out, so it stays fresh in the new attendees’ minds. If that’s not possible, that’s ok. Some people are busy, and can only do once a month. Just make sure you schedule the next one and maintain interest. This does not mean constantly “selling” the Pondering nor pestering people about what they thought. It can take the form of sending out a reminder text the Monday before and day of your next Pondering.
Consistency is huge. Make sure you lay out expectations so people can budget time and know what to expect. Communicate frequently. A reminder text before and day of helps a LOT of people. Use a sample structure. Use the same prayer. Forming and maintaining some form of guardrails really helps maintain the Spirit of the Pondering. After 3-5 months of this, the training wheels can come off, and the structure can meld or change.
But however it changes, keep things consistent, and communicate frequently.
Hope this helps! Guild Leadership is poised to help, and we have tons of experience and testimonials to assist you as you begin your journey of Pub Formation. We wish you the best and Glory to God for all things.
Gang of One
- Determine your #1 and #2 reasons for why you’re starting a Pondering Pub. As opposed to joining something already existing.
- Determine how you’d like your meetings. Frequency, day or the week, time, and level of casualness.
- Come up with 6-10 people who might be interested in a Pondering Pub.
- Determine who would be your partner in helping you form this.
- Meet with your Partner and explain the concept of the Pondering Pub to them. Have them attend 2-3 Ponderings either in person or online.
- Look through the requirements of Host and Pub Rep. Delegate who’ll do which functions.
- Come up with a plan of action for when and how you’ll invite people to your first Pub.
- Meet with Guild Leadership at some point. The present President is Daniel Booth. (717) 494-6500
- Have your Holy Huddle read John Thompson’s “Ideas for Hospitality.“
- Have the opening prayer physically printed out.
- Have 2 presentations prepared. 1 as an “achievable example.” The second can be a “professional example.” Feel free to use the Topic of the Week and/or Inspiration Outlet.
- Explain the “gist” of the Pondering.
- Set the next meeting date before leaving.
- Find the date and time that works for most people on a consistent basis.
- Invite more people than you think will come. (Some people will naturally find this is ‘not thier vibe’ and that’s ok.)
- Develop and keep a routine for arrival, beginning, and departure. Repeat attendees will fall into the flow.
- Touch base with Guild Leadership.
- Read testimonies to learn what other people did in difficult situations similar to yours.
Congrats! If you’ve reached this point and done all the above, you should have a solid Pondering!
But don’t stop now. Life changes, and organizations are organic. Keep at it! Advancing the Glory of God!