I’ve pointed out that the time to think about what’s next for new groups is before you even begin. Whether you’re starting new groups with a church-wide campaign, a small group connection, or an on-campus strategy with a built-in next step that launches off-campus groups, it is essential to choose the follow-up study before you even begin. See also, Now Is the Time to Think about What’s Next.
What we need to talk about now is how to choose the best next study for your new groups. While there are plenty of studies that might get the job done, with a little attention to detail you can choose the best next study. Here are a few things to think about:
- Whenever possible, choose a follow-up study that is similar-in-kind to the launching study. If you recruited new HOSTs with the promise that “this study almost leads itself,” be sure and choose a follow-up study that is also easy to use. If your launching study was a “show up” study (as opposed to preparation or homework), choose a show-up study as follow-up. DVD-driven? You get the idea.
- Choose a follow-up study that will have broad appeal. Stay away from studies that will exclude some groups or some members (i.e., marriage, parenting, etc.).
- Pay attention to seasonal realities or issues. Certain themes lend themselves to certain seasons. For example, January is an opportunity for a study about fresh starts or new foundations. Late fall is often an opportunity to focus on the true meaning of Christmas or making a difference in the community.
- Consider the cost of participating and factor it into your choice. Some studies on require the DVD or the leader’s guide. Others require the study guide and a devotional book.
Although there are no truly one-size-fits-all studies, making a good selection will encourage more of your newest groups to continue. Next to providing a coach, choosing a follow-up study that is similar-in-kind and beginning to promote it as early as week 3 or 4 of the launching study one of the most important keys to sustaining new groups. See also, 5 Keys to Sustaining New Groups.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.