Pushing Boundary-Free GroupLife

Category: Church Wide Campaigns (page 1 of 16)

Prepare for Easter with The Crucified Life

crucified lifeI spent some time with a new DVD-driven study this week that is almost a one-of-a-kind. The Crucified Life: Seven Words from the Cross is a 7 week study designed to be used during the Lenten season. Part of a three study series (the Christian Life Trilogy), The Crucified Life was developed by Rev. Charlie Holt and produced by LifeTogether. The rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lake Mary, FL, I first learned about Holt in 2004 when he led his congregation to do 40 Days of Purpose and then shared one of the most remarkable and powerful stories of community transformation.

The Crucified Life is a study of the seven last words from the cross:

  • Forgiveness: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34
  • Salvation: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise,” Luke 23:43
  • Relationship: “Woman, behold your son! Behold your mother!” John 19:26-27
  • Distress: “I Thirst,” John 19:28
  • Abandonment: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
  • Reunion: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Luke 23:46
  • Triumph: “It is finished,” John 19:30

DVD-driven, the video segments feature teaching by Rev. Charlie Holt and a powerful set of personal testimonies. At 10 to 12 minutes in length, the segments are just about right. Short enough to hold everyone’s attention and long enough to set up an important discussion.

The study guide is well-written and easy to use. Each session is designed with a simple flow that makes it very possible for newer leaders to feel confident and effective. The study guide also includes several leader resources that will help enhance the member experience.

A daily devotional with 45 focused reflections will also enrich the experience. Spending time each day, continuing the journey, will encourage members to deeply reflect “on Jesus’ seven final utterances from the cross.”

Produced by LifeTogether, The Crucified Life campaign includes downloadable templates for flyers, posters, powerpoint backgrounds, and web banners. An excellent campaign manual is available right here.

There are two other studies in the Christian Life Trilogy (The Resurrected Life and The Spirit-Filled Life). “While these studies can be done at any time of the year, many congregations use The Crucified Life and The Resurrected Life for Lent and Easter and then kick off The Spirit-Filled Life in the fall season after Pentecost (from the brochure).”

I really like the potential of The Crucified Life and this series! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if there are any studies that will help their church prepare for Easter during the Lenten season. I can finally say, “Yes!” I like this study and I think it’s a great resource that will help many congregations.

Take a Look at 40 Days of God’s Kingdom

40 days of Gods Kingdom

What do you know about the Kingdom of God? Not a foreign concept to most of us, right? But what about the members of your congregation? Considering the number of times Jesus referred to the Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of the Heavens), isn’t it something that you might want to share with your church?

Chip Ingram recently commented that “few concepts are as misunderstood or completely ignored as the ‘Kingdom of God.'” After previewing 40 Days of God’s Kingdom Ingram wrote that “thanks to Pastor Rick Stinton, you can grasp the most central message of the Bible.”

40 Days of God’s Kingdom is a new church-wide campaign from Rick Stinton, Senior Pastor of New Hope Kailua in Kailua, Hawaii. Stinton received his Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry from Dallas Theological Seminary and has served churches in Canada and the U.S.

DVD-driven, this is a 7 session study that features the practical and insightful teaching of Rick Stinton. The video segments average 20 to 25 minutes and are fairly straightforward. Biblical truth served up simply and easy to follow.

The study guide is also very practically designed and easy to use. Every session begins with a “Kingdom Quiz” based on the reading assignment from the book by the same title. Also included in the study guide is an outline for the DVD teaching and a thoughtfully written discussion guide. Every session wraps up with a personal action plan and an opportunity to pray together.

Like many church-wide campaigns, 40 Days of God’s Kingdom also includes a book to be read along with the study. According to Bruce Waltke, Professor Emeritus in Old Testament Studies at Regent College, the book is “Comprehensive yet concise. Clear and creative. Insightful and inspiring.” I agree with Professor Waltke. At about 90 pages, I found it both an easy read and one that will help the reader absorb more deeply the powerful truths of life in the Kingdom.”

To make it easy and affordable to use 40 Days of God’s Kingdom as a church-wide campaign special pricing is available (making it affordable) and a complete set of sermon outlines and transcripts are available for purchase.

If you’re looking for a way to help your members grasp the important concept of the Kingdom of God, 40 Days of God’s Kingdom is the best study I know of. They’ll come away with much more than a better understanding, though. Once your congregation begins to live the Kingdom of God, they’ll understand why it would be worth selling everything to acquire.

Disclosure of Material Connection: 40 Days of God’s Kingdom is an advertiser on my blog and has paid a fee for this review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Three Church-Wide Campaign Secrets that Everybody Knows…and Very Few Do

laser focusThese are not really secrets. I think almost everyone knows these things already, but almost nobody does them. They’re just too obvious. And honestly, it is just hard work to do them. But if you do them, your campaign will succeed like never before.

If you want to connect far beyond the usual suspects you need to get laser-focused far earlier and stay focused far longer than anyone will think necessary [Click to tweet]

3 Church-Wide Campaign Secrets

  1. Get laser-focused on promoting the campaign. You may not like the word promoting  but don’t let that word take you off course here. The key to this secret is to get laser-focused. For your church-wide campaign to do all you hope it will do, you must narrow your focus to the point that you are only talking about your campaign. If your normal pattern is to promote the buffet…you must change your normal pattern. Everything (announcements, bulletin inserts, website homepage, sermons, signage, etc.) must point to the campaign.
  2. Begin promoting the campaign far earlier than anyone believes necessary. If you truly want your campaign to succeed, you must begin promoting it months in advance. Launching in the fall? Start talking about it in the spring. Think about the launch of any major movie (i.e., Star Wars, Batman, etc.). When do you first begin hearing about it? That’s right. Early. The earlier you begin to get the upcoming campaign into the minds of your congregation and crowd, the greater the sense of anticipation you can develop.
  3. Maintain your laser-focus until your senior pastor and staff are tired of it…and then continue to stay focused. Actually, right about the time your senior pastor and staff begin to tire of the constant drum beat, your most frequent attenders (core, committed, and the inside edge of the congregation) are just starting to get the idea that this is important. If you want to reach the outside edge of the congregation and crowd, you’ve got to remain focused.

Listen, all of us have the same objections and will hear the same objections.

  • What about my ministry?
  • There’s a lot more going on than the campaign!
  • Doesn’t everyone already know this?
  • Haven’t we talked about this enough?

The key thing to remember is that the least connected people are almost always the most infrequent attenders. If you want to connect far beyond the usual suspects you need to get laser-focused earlier and stay focused far longer than anyone will think necessary.

Image by Hamza Hydri Syed

7 Things You Should Know about the HOST Strategy (for starting new groups)

x's and o'sWhen the HOST strategy was introduced by Saddleback in 2002 during the launch of 40 Days of Purpose it truly was a game-changing innovation. The idea that the senior pastor could challenge members of the congregation who had a heart for unconnected people to open up their home for 6 weeks, serve a simple snack, and turn on their VCR–and the results would be nothing short of miraculous–well, it was an amazing idea. See also, HOST: What Does It Mean?

13 years later it is still a powerfully effective strategy. It’s also a strategy that is often misunderstood (and poorly implemented) by many.

And I’d hate for you to be one that misunderstands or poorly implements this powerful strategy.

Here are 7 things you should know about the HOST strategy:

  1. The HOST strategy connects the friends, neighbors, co-workers and family of the people who say yes to hosting a group. Because the host is gathering their own group (and you’re not assigning members to the new groups), there is usually less concern about the qualifications of the host. See also, FAQ: How Should We Respond to Objections about Who Can Host? and Customized Leader Requirements and Benefits.
  2. The HOST strategy is not an effective way to connect large numbers of unconnected people in your congregation (and crowd) who do not know a host. What about unconnected people in your congregation (and crowd)? Since you will not be assigning members to HOSTs, you will need another strategy to connect those who do not know a HOST. It is very common to hold a small group connection to connect unconnected people within the congregation (and crowd) and use the HOST strategy to reach into the community. With a little work you can also use a mashup of HOST sign-up along with a kind of small group fair to connect people. See also, A Potentially Game-Changing Mashup We’ll Be Testing in September.
  3. The most effective HOST asks are made by your senior pastor during a message. There are two keys to this point. First, your senior pastor is almost always the most influential person in the church and the HOST ask cannot be delegated if you want it to be effective. Second, the best time to make the ask is during the message. You can include the opportunity during the preservice slide roll and you can include it as an announcement, but the most effective moment is during the message. See also, How to Make the HOST Ask: The 2012 Version.
  4. “If you have a couple friends you’d like to do the study with” is a game-changing secret phrase. You don’t need 10 friends to start a group. You need a couple. You don’t even need to refer to what you’re doing as “starting a group.” All you’re asking them to do is “invite a couple friends to do the study with you.” See also, Saddleback Changes the Church-Wide Campaign Game…Again.
  5. The most effective HOST asks reach the outer edge of the congregation (and into the crowd). Don’t miss this important understanding. The most connected people in your congregation have the fewest connections with unconnected people. When your HOST ask compellingly invites the least connected people in your congregation (and crowd) to consider inviting their own friends (who often have never been to your church) to do the study, you have the recipe for a powerful church-wide campaign. See also, Do You Know about This Game-Changing Connection Secret?
  6. You must make the HOST ask several weeks in a row. There are at least two good reasons to make the HOST ask several weeks in a row. First, if you want more of your congregation (and crowd) to have an opportunity to respond to the ask, you need recognize that everyone will not be there on one weekend. Second, the people in your congregation (and crowd) with the strongest outside connections are almost always less frequent attenders. See also, Why You Must Make the HOST Ask Several Weeks in a Row.
  7. The study you choose absolutely determines who will say “yes” to hosting a group. Potential hosts decide right away whether they could invite their friends, neighbors, co-workers and family to study that topic. Keep this important reality in mind when you choose the topic. If you hope to connect the friends, neighbors, co-workers and family of your hosts, you need to choose a topic unconnected people would be interested in. See also, Your Church-Wide Campaign Topic Determines Two Huge Outcomes.

What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Don’t Miss This Powerful Study: Finding Your Way Back to God

finding your way back to god dvdEarlier this year I reviewed a powerful new book by Dave and Jon Ferguson. In my review I noted that “Finding Your Way Back to God: Five Awakenings to Your New Life has tremendous outreach potential and if you’ve not had a chance to spend some time with this book, you need to make time!  This book is a game-changer!”

I am even more excited about the 5 session DVD-driven study that accompanies the book. I believe this might be the most powerful outreach study I’ve ever reviewed.

The DVD segments are very compelling and exactly the right length to grab and hold attention. Both Dave and Jon Ferguson come across as real people who genuinely care about this message. Each session also includes the compelling testimony of some who have found their way back to God. An aspect of the video segments that stands in stark contrast to some is that these people have a very familiar presence and feel like they could be your neighbors. 

I believe this might be the most powerful outreach study I've ever reviewed.

The participant guide is well-written and very easy to use. Although some participants will be anxious about joining a discussion on this topic, most will be quickly made at ease by the tone set in the opening questions. Each session of the study includes an opening icebreaker and questions that will consistently welcome everyone to the conversation. The Bible study portion of the study does a very good job of exploring the Parable of the Prodigal Son. A life application section will help participants make the story personal. Each session also includes optional segments for personal decisions and expanded discussion of additional scripture.

The participant guide also includes an extensive leader guide that will enable even the most inexperienced leader to feel better equipped to lead.

Finding Your Way Back to God is a very powerful study. Whether you are simply looking for a small group study that will connect with friends and neighbors who are far from God or a compelling study for a church-wide campaign, I hope you’ll take a look at Finding Your Way Back to God. I love this study and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Don’t Miss Saddleback’s Powerful New Campaign: Daring Faith

Daring FaithSpent some time this week with the newest spiritual growth emphasis from Rick Warren and Saddleback. Daring Faith: The Key to Miracles is a church-wide campaign you are going to want to know about.

What is it about? I love this paragraph from the study guide:

“Daring Faith is all about taking a bold risks. It requires unshakable courage to STEP UP and face the giants as you STEP OUT into the unknown. Cultivating a daring faith goes hand in hand with trusting God’s will. Where God guides, God provides. This is an opportunity to leave your comfort zone, and bravely move to where God is calling you.”

Daring Faith includes all of the elements that have been incorporated in all of Saddleback’s groundbreaking church-wide campaigns:

  • 6 session small group teaching DVD
  • Small group study guide (with daily devotionals)
  • Church training materials
  • Downloadable sermons from Rick Warren
  • Church promotional tools
  • Weekly memory verses

One of the things I always find so encouraging is that everything you hear, read and experience is deeply biblical. Everything is also steeped in the real-world empathy of one of America’s most powerful teachers.

Another aspect that I really find helpful every time Saddleback launches a new campaign is the daily devotional element included in the study guide. This simple element definitely goes a long way to help your group members incorporate God’s word and practical application into their lives every day.

An exciting element of Daring Faith is the fact that it is potentially more than this year’s church-wide campaign from Saddleback. It can be a very powerful giving campaign as well.  In a letter from Rick Warren to pastors and ministry leaders included on the resource disc Rick points out that “Daring Faith is not about getting your church members to give money; it’s about teaching them to trust God more so that they will live fruitful Christian lives.” He also notes that,

At Saddleback, we saw our members transformed as they learned that putting God first in their finances brings blessing, not burden. They learned the difference between feeling pressured to give and being challenged by God to give. They began to give thoughtfully, enthusiastically, and cheerfully, and as God worked in our hearts, it changed us, it changed our church, and it changed our impact on the world.

I have no doubt that all of us are actually praying for that kind of faith for everyone in our churches. Just imagine if after using Daring Faith in your own congregation you could write a similar testimonial!

The Daring Faith Resource Disc includes design files for the Daring Faith logo, PowerPoint background slides, promotional poster, web banners, and a 15-second, Daring Faith-themed bumper video to be used prior to each Daring Faith sermon.

The Resource Disc also includes a robust set of Giving Campaign Resources including:

  • Overview letter from Pastor Rick.
  • Leadership prep material to help you prepare and plan the course of the giving camaign.
  • Customizable informational and promotional material for your congregation to understand and engage in the vision you set for this campaign.
  • Tools to help your congregation write their testimony of how God has blessed them in committing to sacrifice financially.

Whether you are just looking for a powerful campaign that can ignite your congregation’s faith or you need a giving campaign that will enable exciting next steps for your church, Daring Faith: The Key to Miracles is a campaign you need to know about. I loved it and I think you will too.



5 Recommended Follow-Up Studies for Church-Wide Campaigns

fiveI’ve pointed out a number of times that one of the most important keys to sustaining new small groups is giving them a study to do next that is similar in kind. By that I mean similar in several ways:

  • Similar format. If you launch a group with a DVD-driven study, be sure and choose a follow-up that is also DVD-driven.
  • Similar leader preparation required. If the first study required only basic preparation, be sure and choose a follow-up that is easy on the new leader.
  • Similar member preparation. If the launching study had no homework or preparation, choose a follow-up that is easy on the member.
  • Similar interest level. If you used a cross-cultural study to launch the new group, choose a follow-up that will appeal to new members (or the friends and neighbors of new members).

I’ve also pointed out that it is wise to choose the follow-up study before you begin your church-wide campaign. You’ll want to introduce your recommended follow-up study in about week 4 of the launching study and you won’t want to be scrambling to figure out which study will appeal to your newest leaders and their members. See also, 5 Keys to Sustaining New Groups.

5 Recommended Follow-Up Studies

Keeping these criteria in mind, here are a five of what I think are the best follow-up studies:

OverwhelmedOverwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry is a six week, DVD-driven study on a topic that is dead center for many, many people.  Noble, the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church, “a growing, vibrant church with multiple locations all over the state of South Carolina,” is a gifted communicator and teacher, convicted about speaking the truth as plainly as possible.

Overwhelmed is a DVD-driven study, featuring the dynamic teaching of Perry Noble.  At 20 to 23 minutes in length, these sessions will hold everyone’s attention.  Clipped from a weekend message series at NewSpring, there is never a dull moment.  Powerful personal examples and great visuals will captivate your members. You can read my full review right here.

jesus isJesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human is an 8 session small group study that reveals the character of Jesus in a powerful way.  Judah Smith is the Lead Pastor ofThe City Churcha multi-site church with thousands in attendance each weekend in the Seattle area.  He’s also a popular speaker at conferences and events in the United States and abroad.

(From the introduction) “Jesus is ______________?  That question was at the heart of a campaign The City Church launched with the goal of getting Seattle to think about Jesus.  Given a chance to fill in the blank on a website,, thousands of answers came in.  “Some were profound.  Some were hilarious.  Some were spiteful.  But all of them said something about the spiritual journeys of the people filling in the blanks.” You can read my full review right here.

followFollow: No Experience Necessary is DVD-driven and each of the sessions is a 17 to 22 minute clip from an Andy Stanley message.  One of the most compelling communicators in America, this is must see TV.  Never flashy or fancy, Stanley is known for his ability to draw out life-changing truth and deliver it in a way that is both inspiring and very memorable.  Follow is an excellent example of his pattern of taking difficult or challenging ideas and presenting them in a way that leads to application.

The participant’s guide includes everything you need to unpack the profound set of ideas that form the basis of this series. You can read my full review right here.

wiser togetherWiser Together: Learning to Live Together is a short study, just 5 sessions.  Featuring teaching by Bill Hybels, the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the sessions are classic examples of his style.  Each segment is a manageable length, the average time is 13 to 18 minutes.

The study guide includes all of the elements needed for a very good time together.  Along with a video viewing guide, each session includes a warm-up question or two designed to get your group engaged and talking.  A good set of discussion questions pulls members into a better understanding of the wisdom of scripture and adeeper study section provides another question or two if you have time to go further. You can read my full review right here.

five thingsFive Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith is not a new study. Published by Zondervan in 2009, the study is based on five faith catalysts that North Point has identified as the things God uses repeatedly to grow people’s faith.

DVD-driven, the six session study is anchored by excerpts from a North Point message series.  The sessions average 15 to 20 minutes in length and feature Andy Stanley, one of America’s most dynamic and creative speakers.  The DVD also includes all six messages in their entirety as a bonus feature.

Delivered in his classic application oriented style, Stanley zeroes in on the five faith catalysts of practical teaching, providential relationships, private disciplines, personal ministry, and pivotal circumstances. You can read my full review right here.

Image by chintermeyer

FAQ: Can You Recommend an 8 to 12 Week Study for a Campaign?

FAQI get questions. I get a lot of questions. About all kinds of small group ministry topics.

Here’s a good one that I got last week:

I notice the trend for small group campaigns is 6 weeks. Can you recommend 2-3 favorite studies of yours that are 8-12 weeks?

When I asked why they were looking for a longer campaign, my reader said:

Longer campaigns have helped align small groups at our church and create more of a groups culture. I’d like to keep the momentum going.

As a follow-up question, I asked what their percentage connected was. Here’s his answer:

We still have lots of unconnected people at church and I would love to know if study length is a barrier for them.

The key ideas I wanted my reader to wrestle with were these:

Percentage connected is a good measure of who you’ve actually connected. At the risk of oversimplifying, if your percentage connected is stuck over several years, there is a good chance you are simply satisfying the needs and interests of the usual supects. Breaking through percentage connected barriers requires choosing topics/studies that appeal to unconnected people. See also, Three Keys to Connecting Beyond the Core and Committed.

The topics/studies you choose determine two very important things:

  1. Who will say yes to joining a group
  2. Who will say yes to hosting a group and inviting their friends.

Topics/studies from the hard end of the easy/hard continuum will only appeal to the already connected. Topics/studies from the easy end of the easy/hard continuum will appeal to unconnected people. See also, Warning: Your Topic Determines Two Huge Outcomes.

The length of the study is another very important factor.

  • 6 weeks is just about perfect. Short enough to persuade an unconnected person (or someone willing to open up their home and invite a few of their friends) to put their toe in the water and try a group. Pick the right follow up study and at week 4 of the launching study it is easy to encourage new hosts and new members to continue something they are beginning to look forward to.
  • Shorter than 6 doesn’t allow enough time for the connective tissue of new relationships to begin to form (and it needs to reach a certain level of anticipation and satisfaction).
  • Longer than 6 weeks sounds more and more like a lifetime commitment to an unconnected person (or someone considering hosting a group for the campaign).

Longer studies and more challenging topics can be included on your discipleship/curriculum pathway. Existing small groups that have made it into their third study can be coached to choose more challenging and longer studies/topics. Designing a discipleship/curriculum pathway can play an important role in making the kind of disciples you hope to make. See also, Small Group Ministry Myth #4: Leaders and Members Know Best What to Study.

Conclusion: Every church will make their own decision about the topic/study and the length that is appropriate for their campaigns. As a result of extensive personal experience (both in the churches I’ve served and the hundreds of churches I’ve coached and consulted), I make recommendations based on the assumptions listed above.

Image by photosteve101



Ready to Maximize Your Fall Campaign?

mark_largerIf you want to maximize the impact of your next church-wide campaign, why not take advantage of my experience?  After all, in the last decade I’ve…

        • Led several of the fastest growing churches in America through the campaign process
  • Consulted with some of the largest churches and led them through the campaign process
  • Provided coaching for thousands of 40 Days of Purpose churches while part of the Lifetogether team

There’s a reason I have several of the highest ranked pages when you search for church-wide campaign information.  I know what I’m talking about!  More importantly, I can help you plan and launch a powerful campaign that leverages my experience, your passion for your church, and the absolute latest in campaign strategies.

“Mark Howell fuses a heart for relationships and a mind for strategy like few can. His focus on group ministry makes him a valuable asset to church leadership generally and a great advisor to churches individually.” Will Mancini, Founder of Auxano, Author of Church Unique

What would it be worth?

So here’s my question: What would it be worth to have an experienced guide help you maximize the impact of a church-wide campaign? What if you could double or triple the number of adults in groups? What if your campaign helped you reach the neighborhoods around your church? What if you could find another wave of leaders that have been there waiting to be asked?

Church-Wide Campaign Coaching Includes

  • Assessment and Evaluation: Every church is different.  Every community is different.  Choosing the right campaign, fine-tuning the preparation stage and designing the launch sequence is all about understanding your church and your community.  I’ll help you select the right campaign for your church.
  • Preparation: Do the right things in advance and the campaign gathers momentum.  Do the right things in the wrong sequence and it sputters.  I’ll help you take the right first steps.
  • Designing the Launch Sequence: Inserting specific ingredients into the countdown, the intentional selection of one weekend over another, and knowing when to begin to invite members are just three key design elements.  I’ll help you fine-tune your launch sequence for maximum impact.
  • Countdown to Liftoff:  A careful eye and a steady hand makes a difference when you’re watching a complex control panel.  As you’re moving toward the beginning of the weekend series and small group study, it pays to have experience.  I’ll watch the control panel with you and help you make any necessary adjustments.
  • Liftoff and Flight Path: What you do in weeks 3 and 4 determine sustainability.  I’ll help you stay on course.
  • Sustaining Orbit: The 6 weeks of the campaign itself is really only the beginning.  Or at least it should be.  A church-wide campaign ought to do more than provide a memory.  It ought to lead to a new trajectory.  I’ll help you capitalize on a beginning that leads to new opportunities.

Thinking ahead about an upcoming church-wide campaign?  Let me help you get ready, launch big and sustain momentum long after the dust clears. Contact me about a consulting relationship with your church.

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FAQ: When Should We Begin Promoting a Church-Wide Campaign?

5397530925_87102f74b2_zI get a lot of questions.  This is a good one and one you need to be thinking about as you plan for your next church-wide campaign.

When should we begin promoting a church-wide campaign?

That is a good question; don’t you think? And the answer might be a little different than you’ve assumed.

My answer? You should begin promoting your church-wide campaign 3 to 5 months before it’s scheduled to begin.

Here’s an example fall campaign timeline:

  • May 9-10 or May 16-17: Begin mentioning the fall campaign (i.e., by the way, we’re already preparing for a message series you’re not going to want to miss this September. You’re not going to want to miss Transformed: How God Changes You. It’s coming on September 19th and 20th. It’s going to be a great season here at Canyon Ridge. In fact, if you’ve got a couple friends and would like to host a Transformed life group, just fill out your contact card and write HOST at the top and drop it in the offering later in the service). See also, Saddleback Changed the Church-Wide Campaign Game Again.
  • June 6-7: Begin mentioning a special packet designed to help your congregation get to know their neighbors. The packet includes a plan to hold a block party on either July 4th or Labor Day (or both). Include invitations, a Top 10 Ways to Have a Great Block Party, and other fun items. The simple form to be filled out when a packet is given out asks for contact info (which will be used to provide follow-up ideas and information).  The follow-up email suggests that the block party host keeps in mind the possibility of hosting a Transformed life group (and invite neighbors and friends from the block party). See also, What Can You Pull Off in 3 Weeks? A Block Party with a Purpose.
  • June and July: Tease the fall campaign in messages, announcements, in your bulletin/program, and on your website. Like a highly anticipated movie scheduled for a fall release, your campaign will benefit from a nicely times reminder or hint (i.e., even a subtle one inserted in your pre-service slides).
  • July 25-26 and August 1-2: Promote the block party kit again and highlight a Labor Day option (i.e., pick up your block party kit at HOST Central on the patio).
  • August 8-9: Begin your main HOST recruiting phase and highlight it exclusively for three weekends (in your pastor’s message and in the announcements). See also, Why You Must Make the HOST Ask Three Weeks in a Row and How to Make the HOST Ask.
  • August 29-30 to September 8-9: Promote the importance of attending every weekend of the series and being in a life group that is using the study that goes along with the weekend message series. Give clear instructions for how to connect with a life group. See also, 5 Keys to Getting Everyone Involved in a Church-Wide Campaign and
  • September 19-20: Campaign message series begins.

What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Image by photosteve101

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