I get questions…a lot of questions! When they apply to lots of people, I try to answer them here on the blog! This is one of those times. Here’s a question from a reader:
How do you motivate people in the pews & leadership to join a group? What are the keys to get everyone into a group?
That is a great question…don’t you think?
I’ve answered this question in different ways a number of times, but maybe never quite from this angle. Let me take a fresh shot.
First, motivating everyone to join a group (from members and attendees to church leadership begins with your senior pastor. It cannot be otherwise and to attempt it without your senior pastor’s full engagement is folly. Don’t get me wrong, you can have small groups without your senior pastor’s help. In my experience almost all churches have a group of people who will find a way to connect to a group whether groups are a priority or not. In fact, there are people in nearly every church who find a way to connect even if it was discouraged. But if we’re talking about getting everyone in a group…that begins with the full engagement of your senior pastor. See also, Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups and The Real Reason Saddleback Connects So Many in Groups.
Second, motivating members and attendees to join a group requires the enthusiastic endorsement and participation of key influencers. I’ve seen too many churches try to become a church OF groups without the support of key influencers (elders, senior staff, key volunteers, etc.) to be very enthusiastic about your chances without it. See also, How to Engage Everyone: Notes and Resources.
Third, motivating everyone to join a group requires budget and staff that reflects its importance. Declaring that being part of a group is important without redrawing and recalculating the budget and staffing is ludicrous. See also, Budgeting for the Preferred Future.
Fourth, motivating everyone to join a group requires prioritizing group participation. This often means paring back what is offered. At a minimum, it means choosing to promote only small groups during certain key seasons. This step, by definition requires choosing who you will disappoint. Can you see it? Prioritizing small groups as an essential step requires not prioritizing other menu options. See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #2: A Bloated Belong and Become Menu.
Fifth, motivating everyone to join requires an all out effort over several seasons. This isn’t a mission that can be accomplished in one all out effort. If you want to connect everyone, way beyond the usual suspects, you must stay this course for several seasons. The best example of this, at least in the U.S., is Saddleback where they’ve been on a mission since the mid to late 90s. Since they’ve currently connected over 140% of their weekend adult attendance in groups…they are a good example to emulate. See also, Wash, Rinse, Repeat and the Long Run and The Unexpected Twist in Saddleback’s Exponential Growth Formula.
Full Disclosure: The very best way to do all of this is to commit to an annual church-wide campaign. I can coach you on this. I regularly have 5 to 10 churches that I work with personally to help design a custom strategy. I’ve worked with a long list of churches of all sizes. Interested? Email me to find out how.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.