Want to connect people you’re not currently connecting? You’re going to need to develop an openness to new ideas. If the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (Einstein),” connecting beyond the usual suspects is about being open to new ideas; trying different things.
Two quotes that never get far from my workspace:
“Your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you’re currently experiencing.” Andy Stanley
“To reach people no one else is reaching, you’ve got to do things no one else is doing.” Craig Groeschel
My take? If you’re not happy with the results you’re currently getting, if you want to connect beyond the usual suspects, you have to be willing to try things you’re not trying now.
The lesson of the well-worn path is that it never leads to a new destination. Only a different path, a different strategy, leads to a new destination.
How to Develop an Openness to New Ideas
How do you develop an openness to new ideas? It probably is as simple (and as hard) as doing the following things:
- First, become a student of the people you are trying to connect. Nothing is more important than really getting to know unconnected people. Spend time with them. Talk with them. Ask them questions. Observe them carefully. Become a kind of anthropologist about what’s important to them. And then use that knowledge to make strategic changes in the topics you’re choosing for curriculum and the strategies you’re using to launch groups. Remember, “your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you’re currently experiencing.”
- Second, become a student of what’s happening in effective ministries. Become a learner. Join a network of other small group champions in your area. Read about how other small group ministries are designed. Here are my top 5 recommended small group ministry reads. You’ll find many more suggestions on my reading list. You can learn something from every system or strategy. Andy Stanley says, “Become a student, not a critic.” That’s a great first step.
- Third, you need to cultivate a “ready, fire, aim” culture. Careful planning, long development cycles, and the relentless pursuit of problem-free rarely lead to finding new ways to connect people at crowd’s edge. What happens if it doesn’t work? Recalibrate and reconfigure. Shift your aim slightly. Adjust. Just don’t stop firing.
If you want to connect people at crowd’s edge, you need a bias toward new groups, you need to be preoccupied with the needs and interests of the right people, and you need to develop an openness to new ideas.
What do you think? Want to argue? Got a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.