I’ve written about this subject before here and here, but it is a critical step in a launch sequence and need to be sure you’ve got what you need to do it well.  Here are a few ideas that I’ve found very helpful.

  1. When people sign up to host a group, send them a letter from your pastor thanking them for their willingness to open their home and take this step.  The letter should also give them a few keys to hosting.  It should also tell them that “in order to host a group you need to attend one of the following HOST orientations.”  It should list the days and times (you need to do more than one in order to get everyone to attend one).  It should give them a way to RSVP (by phone or email).  It is also a good idea to call each RSVP just before the day to confirm their attendance.
  2. Be sure and be ready to greet people as they come in to the orientation and mix with them as they take a seat.  Introducing them to each other is a good step.  Definitely have them put on a name tag.
  3. The format I use takes one hour.  I begin promptly and end right on time.  In fact, I make a joke about starting and ending on time being “one of the most important small group principles you’re going to learn tonight!”
  4. The first thing I do is welcome everyone and thank them for stepping up to be a HOST.  I make a big deal about what they’re doing.  To me, it is a really big deal.  I talk about how they are the best link to some of the people they will invite.  I also talk about how much those people are depending upon them to swallow hard and invite their friends and neighbors.
  5. Second, I usually take a minute right here, have them turn to the others at their table and share what they are most “terrified” about as they think about opening their home.  I give ’em a minute or two, then ask them to share with me what they said.  It’s a fun moment.  It loosens up the room.
  6. Third, I always include a card in their packet that they fill out that gathers info about their contact info, whether they should be listed on the website, what type of group they’re launching, the day and time of their meeting, whether they’re open to new members, and how many they already have.  I take 2 or 3 minutes and walk them through the items on the card.  They turn it in when they’re on their way out.
  7. Next, I always include a prayer guide that leads them through a 7 day prayer calendar for the week leading up to the launch.  “Because what you’re about to do is so critical, you’d best not do it without praying daily.”
  8. Another piece that I include in their packet is often referred to as “the 5 circles.”  You’ve probably seen it…it has a circle for each of the 5 spheres of their relationships (friends, family, work, church, fun).  I take 2 or 3 minutes and walk them through each of those areas, encouraging them to jot down names of people they will invite from each of those circles.
  9. I take a few minutes and walk them through how the curriculum works.  I show a couple minutes of a DVD session, just to give them a feel for how engaging it is.  I also spend some time talking about how to use the study guide.  And I let them know that each week I’ll be sending them an email with tips on how I’d lead the session.
  10. I take questions as they arise.  Repeat their question so everyone can hear.

At this point in your preparation for the launch you’re probably wondering about How to Recruit Members to Groups?  I talk about that right here.  Miss an article in the series?  You can catch up right here.

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