The next thing I look for is something I call ‘responsibility and follow-through’.
I taught the short series of intro/Seeker classes (a very general ‘What is Wicca/what is ritual/community etiquette/really basic daily practice ideas series of 5 classes) for the group I trained with for about 3 years (and I’ve helped on and off since then.) I also answered the group email.
A look at the numbers:
For every 25 people who email, at least 15 of them never reply again, never make contact again, etc. This is totally normal: they inquire, we send some more info, it’s not what they’re looking for. That part’s fine. What has always interested me is the next stages.
Of those 10, about half explicitly say “Oh, I’m interested in [next class series]. I’ll be there!” – we’d ask for an RSVP to make sure we had enough copies/chairs/etc. We’ve traditionally sent out a reminder email a week or so beforehand, and sometimes another one closer in. Less than half of those who replied show up. (And I’ve been at several classes where *no one* who RSVPed showed up, and we had new people we knew nothing about there.)
On one hand, this is no big deal in that setting. But it makes me wonder. Some of them do try again later – but you know, none of those people has turned out to be a fit for the group. It’s hard not to wonder if those things go together.
(This also explains why most experienced group leaders don’t put a lot of emotional investment in someone until they’ve continued to follow-through for a bit: the drop-off rate is *so* large that doing otherwise is a fast route to burnout and bitterness.)
This is where stories from other Pagans come in. I’ve heard story after story from priests and priestesses who arrange to meet a prospective member at a coffee shop for an initial meeting, where the interested prospective member never shows. (And not only doesn’t show, but doesn’t call, email, or otherwise apologise.)