Had a great question in my recent post on the biggest problems facing your grouplife system. Wendy noted that:
"We're having trouble getting people new to our church to join a group...How can we get them into a group?"
That is a great question...and a very important one. But before I give you something to chew on, I need to add a little piece of information that will provide some perspective. Here goes...
First, most churches have already connected the folks that are already genetically drawn to community. Know what I'm saying? Let's just say that there is a certain type of person who will start a group if there isn't one and join one if there is. You know the type. But they represent a relatively small part of most congregations. Maybe 20 to 30%.
Second, really only the exceptional churches have connected beyond 50 to 80% of their weekend adult attendance. Right? There are the occasional North Coasts that have regularly connected at the 80% level. And then there is Saddleback that has blown through the 100% and at last report had crossed the 130% barrier.
Third, a little basic math tells us that most churches have connected somewhere south of 80% and more than 20%. So, in all likelihood we really need to be talking about how to to connect the middle 50 to 60% in a church-wide campaign. With me? Here are 5 keys to getting everyone involved:
5 Keys to Getting Everyone Involved
1. Getting everyone involved begins with your senior pastor.
There's no getting around this. Connecting everyone involves your senior pastor talking about the importance of being in a group every week. When you're launching a church-wide campaign, be sure your pastor is emphasizing the importance of "being part of a group that's using the curriculum that goes along with the weekend message."
In keeping with your church-wide campaign timeline, be sure your senior pastor is using the right messaging at the right time (i.e., some weeks focusing on "doing the study with a couple friends" and later weeks encouraging those are not in a small group to sign up for the Small Group Connection.") See also Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups
2. Few things are as convincing as a well-placed testimony (live or video)
Few things are as convincing as a well-placed testimony (live or video) of a satisfied customer. When you've made the host ask and have finished recruiting, it's time to flip the switch and let the power of testimony make your case. See also How to Develop Video Testimony That Recruits Leaders or Members
3. Make sure your announcements, website, newsletter, etc., are all making it crystal clear
Whether you're inviting people to do the study with a couple friends or sign up for the upcoming Small Group Connection it should be easy. Make sure your announcements, website, newsletter, etc., are all making it crystal clear how to do what you are asking everyone to do. See also Narrowing the Focus Leads to a Church OF Groups
4. Keep in mind that your average adult attendance is made up of a different group every weekend
Keep in mind that your average adult attendance is made up of a different group every weekend (i.e., if your church is like most churches...your members and attendees come 1 to 4 times a month). That is why you need to make the "join a group" appeal two or three weeks in a row. See also Why You Must Make the HOST Ask Several Weeks in a Row
5. Leverage all-church emails and social media combined with an easy to use web-based sign up form.
All-church emails and social media combined with an easy to use web-based sign up forms allow you to invite and include less frequent attendees who simply haven't heard the invitation (because they haven't been in the room). When you have both technologies working (email and social media), it makes it easy to connect folks that to get the word out broadly.
There's a lot more to this than I can include in a single post, but I hope this has given you a few ideas. You'll find some additional ideas in my post How to Connect Members to Groups
Want do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
Image by James Cridland