I don't know whose idea it was to go to Harrods to shop for toys for our grandkids...but we went. And in the middle of our endless exploration of the toy section of this massive store...I needed to use the restroom.
"Excuse me...where's the closest restroom?" I said to the clerk.
"Go through these next two sections and when you get to the hmm hmm turn right and then right again at the first hallway," she said pointing in the direction.
"I'm sorry. What?"
"Go through these next two sections and when you get to the hmm hmm turn right and then right again at the first hallway."
"Ohhkaaay...I'll give it a try." And I did find one eventually. Just not the one right after the "hmm hmm."
Seriously, have you ever noticed that you only have to miss one turn to end up in an completely different destination?
Have you ever noticed that tiny plan alterations lead to completely different destinations?
I regularly get emails from readers trying to figure out what went wrong in their church-wide campaign (or small group connection, identifying, recruiting and developing coaches, etc.). Maybe you've emailed me.
A little detective work almost always reveals the #1 reason strategies don't work: Tiny plan alterations lead to completely different outcomes.
The #1 reason strategies don't work: Tiny plan alterations lead to completely different destinations.
Here are five examples:
1. Instead of spending three weekends exclusively recruiting hosts for your church-wide campaign and then three more weekends recruiting sign-ups for your small group connection, you decide to recruit hosts and sign-ups for the connection on the same weekends.
What could be the harm, right?
Actually, if you want to recruit the largest number of hosts you must segregate the host ask weekends from the member sign-up weekends. Once you begin talking about "being in a group" vs "inviting a couple friends to do the study" you've recruited your last host.
See also, Top 10 Reasons Church-Wide Campaigns Fail.
2. Instead of sticking with the pure small group connection strategy (that guides new groups to choose leaders from amongst themselves), allow leaders of existing small groups that need a few new members to attend the connection and use it as a fishing pool.
Instead of starting new groups (which is an essential activity if you want to build a thriving small group ministry) you end up simply propping up dying groups that have never learned to fish for themselves.
3, Instead of the hand-to-hand combat of recruiting busy, high-capacity leaders as potential coaches, simply announce that you need a few coaches and then accept those who are willing to serve.
Settling for warm and willing when you only need hot and qualified (high capacity and passionate about groups) leads to a completely different coaching structure. It is one of the main reasons attempts to build effective coaching structures #fail.
4. Instead of making the host ask (or the member ask) within your senior pastor's message, simply include the ask in the list of your announcements.
This little plan alteration has led to more train wrecks than I can remember. Never allow your senior pastor to delegate this essential activity.
See also, How to Make the HOST Ask.
5. Instead of scheduling the host ask (or the member ask) on weekends your senior pastor is preaching, make the ask on the weekends you've scheduled a visiting missionary or student-led Sunday.
Please don't miss the significance of who makes the ask.
Your senior pastor is almost always the most influential person in your church. Substituting anyone else to make the ask always leads to a different destination.
Image by renee_mcgurk