7 Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry

7 Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry

The 7 deadly sins is a familiar idea. And originally, the 7 sins referred to were actual sins and supposedly unforgivable. So are there 7 deadly sins of small group ministry? And are they unforgivable?

I believe there are at least 7 deadly sins of small group ministry. I also believe they are forgivable, but there is a consequence. In this case the consequences almost always affect unconnected people, group leaders and group members.

Here are the 7 Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry

Allowing the Senior Pastor to delegate the champion role (to the small group pastor).

Allowing the Senior Pastor to delegate the champion role (to the small group pastor). While one of the seven deadlies my not seem worse than another, this is an especially egregious sin.

Small group ministries have the greatest potential to thrive when the senior pastor owns the champion role. When the senior pastor delegates or deflects the role to anyone else, maintaining the status quo feels like progress.

See also, TOP 5 THINGS EVERY SENIOR PASTOR NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT SMALL GROUP MINISTRY

Small group pastor not sharing the care and development load.

Small group pastor not sharing the care and development load. Another especially egregious sin, holding onto the role of caring for and developing group leaders leads to inadequate care and nonexistent development.

Jethro’s admonishment to Moses (Exodus 18) offers a clear example and pattern for developing healthy span of care. As the number of groups and leaders grow, small group pastors must focus sufficient time and energy on identifying, recruiting and developing leaders of leaders (coaches). When this doesn’t become a high priority small group ministries remain stuck and growth in the number of leaders and groups is limited.

See also, 4 Essential Skills Most New Small Group Pastors Need to Develop.

Paying too much attention to the needs and interests of existing group leaders and members.

Paying too much attention to the needs and interests of existing group leaders and members. The two most recognizable indications of this sin are (a) when excess attention is paid to the curriculum and topic interests of “mature” believers and, (b) when requests for replacement members become expected and commonplace.

Healthy small group ministries train leaders and members to “fish for themselves” and learn to invite potential members to join the group. Curriculum and topic interests take a backseat when necessary to the needs and interests of unconnected people.

See also, Critical Decision: Add Members to Existing Groups vs. Start New Groups? and 4 SURMOUNTABLE CHALLENGES FACING MANY SMALL GROUP MINISTRIES.

Not prioritizing the launch of new groups.

Not prioritizing the launch of new groups. This sin is most common when groups are emphasized annually (i.e., “our fall groups launch”) and take a backseat the rest of the year. It’s also prevalent when the small group model emphasizes the maintenance of existing groups.

The impact and effects of this sin can be diminished when a year-round strategy is adopted and a model employed that makes it easy and common for new leaders to be identified and new groups to form.

See also, Are You Prioritizing the Launch of New Groups?.

Lack of concern for unconnected people.

Lack of concern for unconnected people. This sin is most common in churches on a hunt for a problem-free solution or without any sense of urgency. Believing the situation will be better next season or next year, these churches are content to wait until all their ducks are in a row.

Developing a keen sense of urgency about the regularly closing windows of unconnected people will fight the impact of this sin. Paying closer attention to the stories of unconnected people in the crowd will help grow a greater willingness to steward every season.

See also, What’s Your Urgency Level for Connecting Unconnected People?

Not caring for or developing leaders after they are recruited.

Not caring for or developing leaders after they are recruited. This sin is very common in churches and small group ministries offering/allowing too many ministries or programs. The constant need to recruit for, prepare for and promote for the next thing (and the thing after that) makes negligence in the most strategic areas commonplace.

Keeping your eye on the most strategic things becomes more and more difficult the more additional ministries and programs are offered. Not caring for and developing small group leaders and coaches is often the resulting sin of saying yes to everything.

See also, 7 Things You Must Do TO and FOR Your Small Group Leaders.

Settling for fellowship and not making better disciples.

Settling for fellowship and not making better disciples. When most effective, small groups offer fellowship and discipleship. When they settle for either, they miss the mark. Groups strategies that settle for fellowship and offer a discipleship program alongside (or vice versa) commonly offer less than the optimal environment for life-change and miss the truly transformational impact of a thriving small group ministry.

Offering both fellowship and discipleship in a group requires a leader who is being cared for and developed by someone who has already been there (i.e., you can’t take anyone somewhere you have never been). Settling for fellowship if commonly the result of another of the 7 deadlies of small group ministry.

See also, Would You Rather: Connect More People or Make More Disciples?

Here’s What’s on My Ministry “To Do” List for 2018

Here’s What’s on My Ministry “To Do” List for 2018

Every year about this time I begin assembling my “to do” list for the next year. This year is no different. But…this may be the most ambitious list I’ve made in quite a while!

Here’s what’s on my list for 2018:

Help build a leadership pipeline and pathway for Canyon Ridge.

Help build a leadership pipeline and pathway for Canyon Ridge. This will include developing a proposal, assembling a team, and beginning to systematically create and put in place the pieces.

While this is not a small group ministry thing, its development will make the development of group leaders more business-as-usual and less dependent on out of the ordinary things coming together.

Assist in the overhaul and redesign of our engagement funnel.

Assist in the overhaul and redesign of our engagement funnel.* This will include an exhaustive analysis of our first step out of the auditorium and the next steps currently part of our pathway.

Again, while this is not exclusively a small group ministry thing, the work will lead to connecting more unconnected people and making better disciples.

*The engagement funnel is something I learned to develop as part of my StratOp training with Intentional Churches. Email Me to learn more about how I can help you with this.

See also, How to Design Next Steps and First Steps

Reengage the prioritization of apprenticing within our Groups ministry.

Reengage the prioritization of apprenticing within our Groups ministry. The apprenticing strategy (both with leaders and coaches) is an essential element in the development of a leadership pipeline and pathway at Canyon Ridge,

While we believe there are other more effective ways to identify, recruit and develop the number of new leaders needed to connect the number of unconnected people in our congregation and crowd, church-wide apprenticing will greatly enhance our ministry and campus multiplication vision.

See also, True or False: Leaders with Apprentices Leads to More Groups

Work with the Groups Team to reimagine and energize the leadership culture within our Groups Ministry.

Work with the Groups Team to reimagine and energize the leadership culture within our Groups Ministry. What can be built quickly is rarely sufficient to meet the needs in later phases of development.

As you probably remember, when faced with the decision between connecting as many unconnected people as possible or building a coaching and leader development program, I always err on the side of connecting as many unconnected as possible.

Still, now is the time and 2018 is the year to put in place the elements that will enable us to scale more effectively and sustain an even higher percentage of the new groups we launch.

See also, What’s Your Urgency Level for Connecting Unconnected People?

Assist in the development of a church-wide discipleship pathway.

Assist in the development of a church-wide discipleship pathway. Not a separate program, this will become a normal experience and set of steps for new groups that form and existing groups already in our groups system. The first step is the development of a multi-week experience that will expose  group members to a set of core convictions and vision.

The development of a standardized beginning for groups and group members will assist in ensuring the inclusion of a new set of ordinary at Canyon Ridge (as opposed to extraordinary).

See also, Would You Rather: Connect More People or Make More Disciples?

Image by Camilla Oliveira

Do You Have a Mindset that Builds a Thriving Small Group Ministry?

Yesterday I wrote that, “Building a thriving small group ministry requires  a certain mindset. It also requires the development of a very particular set of practices.”

Building a thriving small group ministry requires a certain mindset. It also requires the… Click To Tweet

I also noted that, “You can have the practices alone and not have what it takes to persevere at building a thriving small group ministry.”

You can have the practices alone and not have what it takes to persevere at building a thriving… Click To Tweet

The truth is without the mindset, you will always fall short. Without the mindset, it will always be easier to give up (or give up and try again somewhere else).

Why? Because it’s almost never your skill set that keeps you from breaking through barriers. Instead, it’s almost always your mindset.

Want to break through the barrier that’s preventing you from exceeding 100% connected in groups? Or maybe, stuck at 35% you’d like to break the 50% barrier? It probably doesn’t actually have much to do with your skill set (although understanding how to use the small group connection strategy or the church-wide campaign strategy can’t hurt).

Most of the time, when you need to break through a barrier, it almost always has to do with mindset.

Want a new mindset? I’ve found it’s mostly about believing the right things and asking the right questions.

What are the right things to believe? Here’s what I believe:

  • Unconnected people are worth connecting. Helping many more step out of anonymity and into community is our mission.
  • Spiritual infants and toddlers are worth investing in. Helping them grow to maturity and learning to invest in others is our mission.
  • God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” What we think can happen…is not even close to what God can do.
  • The most effective strategies we’ve ever discovered…are never more than a shadow of what could be (and will be).
  • What has gotten us to where we are currently…will not get us to where we dream of being.
  • Sometimes Often the thing that seemed impossible yesterday is closer every day to being reality. See also, Where Do You Want to Go with Your Small Group Ministry?

What are the right questions? Here are 5 of my favorites:

  1. What’s the best way to…?  I picked this up recently from Andy Stanley.  Works great when you’re stuck with legacy solution that just isn’t working very well any more (from Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast, Introducing Change).
  2. How might we…?  I got this one from Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO (from The Secret Phrase Top Innovators Use).
  3. What would have to be true for that approach to work?  Or, “for the idea on the table to be a fantastic option?”  I love these two questions from Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management (p. 12, The Design of Business).
  4. What are we not doing that we should start doing right away?  What should we immediately stop doing in order to allow for the emergence of the new?  Bill Taylor, a co-founder of Fast Company, is a great source of ideas like this. (p. 123, Practically Radical)
  5. What 21st-century challenges are testing the design limits of our ______ strategy? Also, What are the limitations of our model that have failed to keep up with the times?  Gary Hamel has been called “the world’s leading expert on business strategy.” (from The Future of Management)

Image by Loozrboy

5 Essential Practices of Thriving Small Group Ministries

5 Essential Practices of Thriving Small Group Ministries

Building a thriving small group ministry requires  a certain mindset. It also requires the development of a very particular set of practices.

You must have both.

You can have the mindset (the worldview, the belief system, the assumptions, the attitudes) alone and not be able to build a thriving small group ministry.

You can have the practices alone and not have what it takes to persevere at building a thriving small group ministry.

What are the practices you must master in order to build a thriving small group ministry?

I believe there are at least 5 essential practices:

Thriving small group ministries understand the needs and interests of unconnected people.

Building a thriving small group ministry requires a deep understanding of unconnected people. It requires the ability to empathize with a large population who don’t yet have your mindset.

There are people in your congregation (and in your crowd and community) who are predisposed to be connected. They connect without any prompting or suggestion. In fact, they will move toward community even when there is no intentionality on the part of the church.

Unconnected people usually don’t have that predisposition. While there are exceptions (i.e., new to the community, newly divorced or widowed, etc.), most unconnected people often don’t easily respond to standard invitations to connect.

At the same time, unconnected people almost always have interests and needs that will pull them toward community. Practicing empathy and learning to think like unconnected people is an essential skill if you want to build a thriving small group ministry.

See also, Could Our Lack of Empathy Be Limiting Our Ministry Impact?

Thriving small group ministries streamline the path to connection.

Follow me carefully on this one.

Since building a thriving small group ministry requires connecting a large number of people who lack the motivation to overcome great barriers to connection, if you want to build a thriving small group ministry you must become an expert at making it easy to get connected.

Can you see it?

You must become an expert at making it easy to get connected.

The practice of streamlining the path doesn’t seem to come naturally to everyone, but it is a skill-set that can be developed. Carefully evaluating and diagnosing your church’s first steps out of the auditorium is a beginning. Learning to spot less-than-obvious disconnects is a skill that can be acquired.

The practice of streamlining the path requires both the ability to see disconnects and design (and implement) a better path. Designing a better path may require experimentation and a willingness (and even permission) to fail forward.

See also, How to Design Next Steps and First Steps.

Thriving small group ministries prioritize the identification of new leaders and the launch of new groups.

If you want to build a thriving small group ministry, you must learn to prioritize the right things. The tendency of most small group pastors is to prioritize the needs of existing group leaders and the interests of already connected people.

Prioritizing the needs of existing group leaders comes at the expense of connecting beyond the usual suspects.

Better to focus your attention on strategies that identify new leaders and launch new groups (while training your coaches to care for and develop group leaders).

See also, Are You Prioritizing the Launch of New Groups?

Thriving small group ministries care for and develop leaders via a healthy span of care.

This practice is counterintuitive for many small group pastors. We often come predisposed to believe that our primary role and responsibility is to care for and develop each of the group leaders in our ministry when the truth is, just like Moses (see Exodus 18), our responsibility is to ensure that they are cared for and developed.

It may be that the greatest challenge in building a thriving small group ministry is the persistent and concurrent development of a healthy span of care.

I am often asked, “What should be done first? Prioritize identifying new leaders and launching new groups or build an effective coaching structure to care for the leaders?”

It is always a “snatch the pebbles from my hand, Grasshopper” moment, as the correct answer is, “Both must happen at the same time.”

You cannot build a thriving small group ministry without developing the essential practice of developing a healthy span of care.

See also, Skill Training: Equip Your Coaches to Develop and Disciple Leaders

Thriving small group ministries invest in leaders (and leaders of leaders).

Investing in leaders (and leaders of leaders) is not a nice extra thing to do when we have time and a budget surplus. It is an essential practice.

How should we invest in them? Providing a healthy span of care is a non-negotiable, but is only the beginning. Training experiences can be helpful. Status recognition meets certain needs. Time and attention, especially from your senior pastor and other senior leaders, is rarely provided but might be the most important investment you can make.

If you want to build a thriving small group ministry, you must develop the practice of investing in leaders (and leaders of leaders).

See also, 5 Ways Senior Pastors Can Affirm the Value of Small Group Leaders.

Friday’s List | December 1

fridays-listEvery Friday I post a short list of the things I’m reading, listening to, loving and wrestling with:

Here’s what I’m reading right now:

The Death Of News, Re-Tribalization And The Future Church by Carey Nieuwhof. A great read! And a great insight into the Church.

5 Grave Dangers For Any Local Church by Dan Reiland. This post will challenge you…I know it did me. Very helpful right now.

One Thing You Need To Add To Your Weekly Meeting by Stephen Brewster. Brewster is a creative guy and has a really good take on a key missing ingredient in weekly meetings.

How Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Amazon Learn from Failure by Bill Taylor. Great read! If you’re interested in innovation, this is a must read!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Goal Sharing by Michael Hyatt.  Eye-opening. If you’re a goal setter don’t miss this. If you’re not…read it anyway. You may become one!

The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company by Ram Charan. This book was referred to several times in Designed to Lead by Geiger and Peck

Here’s what I’m listening to:

Mark Miller—Building Leaders Like Chick-fil-A on the EntreLeadership Podcast. As you may know, building a leadership culture is on a front burner for me right now and this is a very good conversation.

John Ortberg On The Problem With Hurry In Leadership, Why So Many Leaders Struggle With Intimacy And His Friendship With Dallas Willard on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. Love listening to Ortberg. This is a great  conversation!

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team by Simon Sinek, David Mead and Peter Docker. This takes Sinek’s teaching in his first book and helps with application. Very powerful stuff!

All the Earth by The Belonging Co. So good! Wait until you hear Peace Be Still.

Quotes I’m wrestling with:

“The number one predictor of whether or not (your leadership) will be sustainable is, do they have a fully disclosing friend. Do they have another person with whom they can share all of the their secrets, talk about their struggles, talk about their temptations.?” John Ortberg

My own post I hope you’re reading:

4 Disconnects that Keep Small Group Ministries from Thriving

Have you picked up on the disconnects that keep small group ministries from thriving?

It turns out that where these disconnects exist (and are allowed to continue), your small group ministry has zero chance of thriving.

Miss My 2018 Strategy Call Webinar? Get the Replay Right Here

Made your plans for 2018 yet? Why not take advantage of a little FREE coaching? Believe me, those who already watched the webinar would tell you

It’s an action packed hour and you will come away with four very actionable insights!

You can watch the full replay* by signing up below. I’ll also include the downloadable outline to make it easier to take a few notes.

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*The replay will be available for viewing thru Wednesday, December 6th.

4 Disconnects that Keep Small Group Ministries from Thriving

4 Disconnects that Keep Small Group Ministries from Thriving

Have you picked up on the disconnects that keep small group ministries from thriving?

It turns out that where these disconnects exist (and are allowed to continue), your small group ministry has zero chance of thriving.

What are the most common disconnects?

The Senior Pastor Disconnect

The senior pastor disconnect is probably the most common. At the heart of this issue is either the senior pastor’s lack of awareness or lack of acceptance of their role as small group champion.

Some senior pastors are simply unaware of the importance of leveraging their influence to promote the things that matter most (and only the things that matter most). Instead of leveraging their influence they spread it evenly across all ministries and at best cause confusion about the best next step.

Other senior pastors are aware of their potential influence but instead believe their role is purely as a teacher and not a promoter. They prefer to delegate the promotion of even the things that matter most to other staff members, signaling to the congregation that despite the enthusiasm of some, the ministry or opportunity being promoted is really not that important.

See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #1: A Doubtful or Conflicted Senior Pastor and Top 5 Things Every Senior Pastor Needs to Know.

A Leadership Development Disconnect

This is a common and very significant disconnect that prevents many small group ministries from thriving. There are several ways this disconnect can be detected.

First, the absence of a leadership development plan is a clear sign of the disconnect. Regardless of whether there is confusion about the need for leadership development or simply reluctance to allocate the resources (money or time) to make it happen, its absence indicates a disconnect.

Second, the discovery and engagement of high capacity leaders is a rare event and every ministry simply accepts the false conclusion that “high capacity people just don’t attend our church.”

Third, span of care issues exist in all ministries and especially in the small group ministry. Instead of identifying, recruiting and developing leaders of leaders, staff and a few key volunteers attempt to do everything (and often burn out in the process).

See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #5: A Leadership Development Disconnect.

Clear Next Steps and First Steps Disconnect

Many small group ministries are stymied by a lack of clarity about the preferred first steps out of the auditorium and preferred next steps for every member and attendee.

This is most common in churches that are reluctant to eliminate extra items from the connecting and discipling menu. There are several common reasons for this reluctance:

  • Disagreement among staff and leadership about the best next step (i.e., off-campus small groups vs on-campus Sunday School, Bible teacher vs group facilitator, etc.)
  • Preferring peace-keeping over decisions that will ruffle certain feathers.
  • Absence of a strategic mindset that prioritizes and allocates according to priority.

See also, Evaluate the Connection Potential of Your “First Step out of the Auditorium”.

An Inside-Outside Disconnect

An inside-outside disconnect is deadly and imperils more than small group ministries. The phrase was coined by John Kotter, author of numerous books on the subject of change and change management. He used the phrase to describe the phenomenon of organization insiders’ lack of awareness of the needs and interests of outsiders.

According to John Kotter, “The disconnect between what insiders see, feel and think, on the one hand, and external opportunities and hazards, on the other, can be astonishing at times–even in organizations that are producing very good short-term results (p. 67, A Sense of Urgency).”

Can you see how this disconnect might affect both small group ministries and churches in general?

Small group ministries often listen primarily to leaders and members of existing groups and are sometimes unaware of the difference between what the already connected want or need and what everyone else wants or needs.

Eliminating and overcoming this disconnect depends on developing a keen empathy for the needs and interests of those who need to be connected.

See also, The Perils of the Inside-Outside Disconnect and Could Our Lack of Empathy Be Limiting Our Ministry Impact?

Image by Randy Heinitz

5 Keys to a Great Start in 2018

5 Keys to a Great Start in 2018

Does it feel like it was just 2016?

I don’t know about you, but 2017 is a blur! It feels like I was planning 2017 just yesterday!

Regardless of how it feels though, it is time to firm up plans for January/February and get going on some key initiatives for the rest of 2018.

Are you ready to get started?

Here’s what I think of as the keys to a great start (and a great year) in 2018.

5 Keys to a Great Start in 2018

If you’ve taken Design, Build and Sustain a Thriving Small Group Ministry, these keys will look very familiar. If you haven’t, you might want to pick up this course. It is also included in GroupLife Insider, my membership site.

Evaluate your present

Before you can intelligently begin planning the new year, it will benefit you greatly to spend some time evaluating how the last year went and specifically, where your ministry is right now.

Pulling together real numbers for certain aspects will help clarify the work to be done.

  • how many groups you have
  • how many groups were new in 2017
  • how many people in groups
  • how many people were newly connected in 2017
  • how many coaches are actively engaged
  • average adult weekend worship attendance

You might find the following articles helpful:

Evaluate  Your  Small  Group  Ministry  with  My  Signature  10  Point  Checklist

The First 7 Questions I Ask When Evaluating a Small Group Ministry

Declare your preferred future

If you’ve done this work in the past, this will be an easy step. If not, taking the time to begin describing what your groups ministry should look like in 5 to 10 years will help clarify what must be done to get from where you are to where you hope to be.

For example, if your preferred future includes having 100% of your adult weekend worship attendance in a group and you currently have 45%…you will quickly see the gap! You might not know how to best close the gap, but you will see the gap and that will inform your next steps.

If your preferred future includes having your group leaders being cared for and developed by a coach and coaches having a span of care of 1 to 5, and you currently have 25 group leaders and no coaches…you will quickly see the gap!

Further Reading:

Where Do You Want To Go with Your Small Group Ministry?

Set the milestone(s) that lead to your preferred future

When I’m explaining what a milestone is I like to describe a hike from a campsite to a distant mountain summit. When the trail disappears you might pick out a stand of trees or a rock formation and hike towards that, even when you can no longer see the summit itself, knowing arriving at the stand of trees will mean you are still headed in the right direction, Think of a milestone as an identifiable marker that you can see in the distance that will ensure that you remain on course.

If the preferred future you’ve described will take you 5 to 10 years to attain, it will be helpful to identify at least the next milestone or two. When I’m choosing milestones, I want a goal that is attainable in the next 3 to 9 months.

For example, if in my preferred future I want to have 100% of adults in a group and I currently have 45% in a group, then an appropriate milestone might be to have 60% in a group during the six week study that begins February 25th.

Further Reading:

Are We There Yet? Milestones that Lead to the Preferred Future

Determine the action steps that lead to accomplishing your milestone(s)

This is where many plans get bogged down or completely derailed. It’s one thing to imagine a preferred future or even set a milestone or two. It is another thing entirely to identify the action steps that actually lead to accomplishing your milestones.

Milestones are goals, and goals are arbitrary. The attainability of a goal has everything to do with the combination of clear thinking, insight, and godly vision of your team. When the goal is set correctly, it will usually be an attainable stretch. It won’t be easy. It won’t be a no-brainer. But it also won’t be completely ridiculous.

It also helps to think of milestones as lag indicators. A lag indicator is proof that you accomplished your goal. When you get to 60% connected in March of 2018, you will have accomplished your milestone.

And that’s where identifying and determining the action steps that lead to accomplishing your milestone(s) come in.

Think of the steps that lead to the milestone as lead indicators. Lead indicators are the actions that result in arriving at the milestone.

For example, if we are to arrive at 60% of our adult weekly worship attendance, we’ll have to connect more adults and probably add more groups. To do that we’ll need to plan a small group connection, promote it skillfully and persistently, and execute it well.

The action steps in this case would be things like:

  • Develop an FAQ about the small group connection and the importance of being connected and make it available at the small group ministry kiosk.
  • Include a sign-up form in the program on February 11 and 18.
  • Promote the connection in the messages on February 11, 18, and 25.
  • Feature a “benefits of being connected” video (or a live testimony) in the service on February 11 and 18.
  • Send a church-wide email from Senior Pastor on February 13 and 20 promoting the connection with a link the registration.

Further Reading:

FAQ: What Should We Be Measuring (to build a thriving small group ministry)?

Are You Working on the Right Things (to build a thriving small group ministry)?

Celebrate arrival

When you achieve the milestone, it is essential to celebrate.

  • Plan it in advance.
  • Let your team know there will be a celebration.
  • Make it commensurate to the degree of difficulty.
  • Budget for it.

Final Note:

This is a wash, rinse, repeat pattern. It must be done again and again in order to arrive at the preferred future you’ve identified.

It’s HAPPENING! Don’t Miss Out on My Black Friday Sale

Sorry! This promotion is over.

That’s right! I’ve cut prices on GroupLife Insider and many of my most popular mini-courses! And right now you can get them for 25 to 40% off my list price…but only thru Monday, November 27th!

Here’s a look at what I’m offering:

GroupLife Insider is on sale!

GroupLife Insider is my new membership site. Membership  includes unlimited access to my mini-course library, exclusive access to “video conference office hours,” discounted pricing on coaching calls, discounted pricing on GroupLife Southwest and much, much more!

Find out all about GroupLife Insider benefits and features right here.

Get a one-year membership to GroupLife Insider for $125! (save $25 to $55 off the normal price!).

“I can’t believe you’re offering all of this at this price! Thank you for GroupLife Insider!”

Mini-Course Sale

My mini-course library is very popular. If all you need right now is step-by-step instructions on building an effective coaching structure or maximizing your next church-wide campaign…I’m offering some great prices through Monday, November 27th.

However…if you think you’ll need another course or two…you should definitely check out GroupLife Insider! Remember, a one-year membership includes unlimited access to all of my mini-course library!

5 Reasons January-February Is Prime Time for Launching New Groups

new-years-resolutions5 Reasons January-February Is Prime Time for Launching New Groups

If you want to build a thriving small group ministry it’s important to remember that you need to have a year-round approach to launching new groups. While the fall definitely presents the very best opportunity to connect the largest number of unconnected people, there are absolutely several other very good times every year to launch new groups (and connect people who for many reasons did not connect in the fall).

Late January/early February is another very good time to launch new groups. This season comes with certain motivations that aren’t part of the equation in the fall and need to be taken into consideration.

5 Reasons to Launch New Groups in January/February

  1. Every December finds another wave of unconnected people who realize they’ve got to make some changes. They’ve overspent on Christmas. They’re tired from trying to cart their children around to too many holiday commitments. They’ve overeaten and partied too much. They’ve let their exercise programs fall by the wayside. There is no better time of year than January/February to invite them to turn over a new leaf by getting involved with some other folks who are determined to have a better next year. That motivation provides an opportunity to use a study that appeals to people looking for a fresh start.
  2. The first of the year brings people who’ve just resolved to get involved in a church.  A very different motivation than the fall.  They’re not new to the area.  Just to the idea of attending.  That motivation provides an opportunity to choose a study that appeals to people who are new to your church.
  3. At least some of the new groups from your fall church-wide campaign did not survive the holidays, It is fairly common for a number of people who were part of a group in the fall (and loved finally being connected) to find themselves unconnected again. Establishing the mindset that sometimes it takes more than one try to connect with a group that really clicks will encourage unconnected people to try again.
  4. The first of the year presents an excellent opportunity to focus your congregation on your vision and mission. Many churches select a theme for the year and then choose a church-wide campaign or stand-alone study that will help get everyone on the same page.
  5. Not everyone is ready to respond to an invitation to join a small group. Some unconnected people are resistant to that invitation but very open to a lesser (or different) commitment. An on-campus “class” on the right topic present an easier first step out of the auditorium. Improving your marriage (Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage) or learning about relationships (The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating) are just two examples.

Need help? Get How to Jumpstart January: Plan, Launch and Sustain More Groups Than Ever Before at the Black Friday price!

If you need help planning and launching a wave of new groups in January/February, please take a look at my mini-course:

How to Jumpstart January: Plan, Launch and Sustain More Groups Than Ever Before

Don’t let this key season slip by without taking advantage of the opportunity! Even better, you can get it right now at my Black Friday sale!

Further Reading:

5 Keys to Launching Small Groups Year-Round

How To Build an Annual GroupLife Calendar – 2016

How to Launch New Groups with a Small Group Connection

The Latest on Church-Wide Campaigns – 2017

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