Even if you’re careful to not hold an event unless you’re sure you will have critical mass (Read “Critical Mass“, there may be times early in a church plant when less people show up to an event than you expected. Maybe you scheduled a party to invite 25 new people, and you planned to talk for a few minutes about the church plant. Then only 6-10 people show up, and the group dynamic is totally different than you expected.
It’s probably time to ditch the presentation and switch to discussion. It’s hard to give a sermon-like presentation to 8 people. You can… but it will be awkward. It’s probably better to ask questions that facilitate a discussion rather than give a presentation like you would to a crowd of people.
It comes down to group dynamics. If the group is small enough that discussion is possible (2-12 people) most people would rather be able to talk than just be talked to. They want to contribute, not just listen to you.
When less people show up than you expected, it can be a huge emotional shock. You envisioned a certain turnout. You had a plan in mind, and now you have to completely adjust your plan on the fly. It is draining and difficult. Here’s the key…
Be prepared for it before it happens.
If there is any chance that less than 12 people will be at event, and you prepared a “presentation” of some kind, be prepared in advance to switch to discussion mode just in case. You might even jot down a few discussion questions beforehand.
It will still be disappointing that the turnout isn’t as good as you hoped. Being prepared, however, to switch from presentation to discussion will be better than totally bombing and regretting the whole thing.