5 Keys to a Great Fall Ministry Season

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Want to have a different kind of fall ministry season?  You have to start now…in the summer.  Here are the keys:

  1. Work with your senior pastor to develop the ways you’ll be promoting small groups every week beginning ________.  You pick the date.  It’s a little bit arbitrary.  The idea is that on that date you become a church that talks about small groups every chance you get.  You’ll need to use variety.  Put together a constant flow of video or live testimony, message illustrations and references, and announcements about upcoming events and opportunities that are group related.  This is probably the biggest factor in churches that are connecting beyond 100% of their weekend adult attendance.  They never stop talking about the importance of being part of a small group.
  2. Put together a flow-chart view of your fall calendar that shows how you’ll move from the launching series to the follow-up series and then through the holidays.  This can be a very simple document that simply explains when everything happens and how you’re going to help new groups move from one series to the next and then make it through the holidays into the new year.  Much like a sermon, small groups need transition elements.  When you launch a new group, the first three studies they do often determine whether they’ll survive or not.  Helping them get off to a good start, transition to a next curriculum and then navigate the busyness of the Thanksgiving to New Years season is very important.  Time spent now planning those details will make a big difference in the fall.
  3. Develop a one-page concept of what you’re trying to produce in the lives of the members of your small groups.  Go beyond getting them connected.  What do you want them to be like at the end of the ministry season.  What do you want them to be like when they’ve been in a group for 3 to 5 years.  This is a good exercise because it helps you become proactive about the curriculum you choose and how you train your leaders.
  4. Spend time with your coaches (or prospective coaches).  Your coaches will only deliver what they’re experiencing personally.  In other words, if they’re not receiving personal care and coaching they’re not going to be able to give it away.  This is a pretty big idea.  You should probably read it again:  if your coaches are not receiving personal care and coaching they’re not going to be able to give it away.  It follows that whatever you want to happen at the member level has to be happening here first.  It’s a chain reaction.  If you want your small group leaders to actually do more than convene a meeting…it begins right here.
  5. If you want anything to happen in the lives of your members…it’ll be because you are changing and have something to pass on to your coaches.  Nothing happening?  Don’t be surprised if your groups are mostly about connecting and not a lot beyond.  Want real change to happen at the member level?  It starts with you.  What helps me?  Regular time in God’s word, a one-page journal entry (a la Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels), a regular hit of John Ortberg, and a dose of The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard.  It may be different for you.  For me, it does start here.

Want a great fall ministry season?  This is where it starts.  And this is when it starts.

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