- Set the date for a Small Group Connection. (If you don't know about the Small Group Connection strategy, click here to find out all about it). There are three very good connection opportunities every year. Fall is a great time to launch a church-wide campaign. Easter presents some natural next steps. And late January/early February is a really good time to help jump-start some brand new groups. You’ll want a minimum of three weeks to promote the event and Monday, January 17th is the MLK holiday, which makes the the 23rd or the 30th the best choices.
- Choose an easy-to-use curriculum for the Small Group Connection. Video-driven is always a good choice. Keep in mind that the first of the year has a natural “fresh start” theme. It will be easier to promote getting connected if the curriculum you’ve chosen is about building a solid foundation or building some enduring friendships.
- Prepare to promote the event three weeks in a row. The third week can be the week of the connection, but three weeks gives you plenty of time talk it up (Note: MLK weekend often finds a lot of unconnected people missing). Placing a sign-up form in the bulletin each week is very helpful. (A fresher option is to set up a "text this to this" option or set up a QR code that leads to an online sign-up form). When you make the announcement (or better yet, have your pastor mention it is the sermon) have them pull out the insert while you talk about the Connection. “Fill it out and place it in the offering (or the basket on the way out).” In addition to the insert, I like to have a blurb in the bulletin, a sign in the lobby, even a highlighted graphic on the website all promoting the Connection.
- Communicate in early December with all of your existing small groups. Remind them that planning the date of their first meeting in 2022 is something to do now, not in January. Ideally, the earlier they get started the better. Depending on the curriculum you’ve chosen for the Connection, you may find many of them will be game to pick it up as well.
- Plan a late January meeting to encourage group leaders. Depending on the area you live in (weather, kid’s sports activities, etc.), Saturday mornings in January are often pretty free. If you schedule your event on January 29th or February 5th you can even include new leaders from the Connection. If you act now you can set the date, get your pastor involved, bring in a speaker (depending on your budget, you might even just bring in the small group pastor from a church in a nearby city…get some ideas from the Purpose Driven Small Group Network directory), start with a great breakfast, and even plan a couple skill-training breakout options.
These are just 5 quick ideas that you can use right away to get 2022 off to a great start. The biggest key? Don’t wait until January to think about January. One hour spent today nailing down as much as possible will make a big difference…in the lives of the people who get connected and are never the same again.
Need more help?
You might find Jumpstart January a very big help! My 4 session online video course is packed with ideas, tips and strategies to connect the largest number of unconnected people and start the largest number of new groups. Click here to find out more about it.