Back in 2007, I had the pleasure of hearing the chair of the OA Board of Trustees talk about how to strengthen meetings. She mentioned five simple (but not necessarily easy) concepts that may help all meetings and OA as a whole.

1. Offer radical hospitality. Newcomers want to be at the meeting. They are there because they are ready for the solution—so the solution must be at the meeting. We need to love newcomers and stay with them. We can start by appointing a designated greeter who comes early to meetings and stays late. We can identify someone who will call newcomers after the meeting, another who will email a note or send a card, and someone who can offer to pick up a newcomer to bring them to the next meeting. We can make our meeting a “school for abstinence.”

2. Create passionate programs. Meetings should provide an atmosphere where passionate people share and reach out to the hearts of others. We can have regular speaker’s meetings, inviting people from other meetings or using recordings of people who have qualified. We can keep meetings focused on the solution and share hope for recovery by mentioning our length of abstinence and weight history. We can support the use of Lifeline magazine and tell our stories with eagerness and passion.

3. Make program progress intentional. We all need to work on our OA program outside of meetings: work the Steps, abide by the Traditions, and use the Tools. “What Step are you currently working on?” is a question we should always be able to answer.

4. Provide risk-taking service. We need a zest for risk-taking service by offering ourselves in a deliberate effort to improve the experiences of others. We can push beyond our personal comfort zone. The Seventh Tradition states that we are self supporting, and service plays a crucial part. “What service are you doing?” is another question we should be able to answer anytime.

5. Generate extravagant generosity. OA needs our financial support. Are our Seventh Tradition donations commensurate with the value we receive from our OA recovery? We can think about how to give financial support to OA, including making gifts for member’s birthdays, anniversaries, and memorials.

This speaker inspired me and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share her ideas through Lifeline. I’ll close with a quote from her speech: “God can’t be everywhere, so he sent you to the meeting!”

— Kimberly C., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania USA

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