Update: We've used this strategy for 2 years and are about to use it again this Easter (Easter's theme is Living Hope and we'll be promoting a short-term on-campus study using Louie Giglio's The Comeback. Great match. It will be easy to promote the next step.
Here's the basic concept
The basic concept of the strategy is based on this question*:
Since our weekend message series are conceived and developed to move our congregation in a certain direction, could we identify (or create) next steps that can more naturally be promoted as the best next step (based on the content of our weekend message series)?
See where this is going?
When you think about your church's normal plateful of events, programs, and activities and the tremendous pressure applied by every ministry owner and their constituents to promote their events, programs and activities from the stage...
I think you see where this is going. Right?
Forget the push from every ministry, program, event, and activity to promote their thing.
Sometimes it's difficult to promote strategically important next steps naturally in the sermon or even in the announcements when what you're promoting seems to come from left field. For instance, when you'd like to take advantage of your senior pastor's influence by having him mention the upcoming small group connection in his message...but his message is on having an impact in the world.
Now...honestly, there is a little chicken and the egg going on here, but I think you see where I'm going.
An example of the new strategy at work:
Remember, the essence of the new strategy is to identify (or create) next steps that can more naturally be promoted as the best next step (based on the content of our weekend message series).
Two tracks to look at:
On the weekend message series track: Our current message series is called Margin and the four messages will unpack the need for financial, calendar, and relational margin. We began 2017 with a series called Impact: Be One. Have One. Our teaching team felt it made sense for the following series to be on having enough margin to include the most important things in life (that often get crowded out by a lack of financial, relational, or calendar margin).
On the providing the best next step track: At the same time, our Groups team hoped to promote a short-term on-campus strategy (that leads to off-campus groups) in order to connect unconnected people. We had planned to offer three options: Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, Authentic Manhood, and Comparison Trap (for women), promote them via announcements, sermon mentions, website content and church-wide emails and generate sign-ups with a bulletin insert. We've done this for three years running and it's been reasonably effective. You can find out more about this strategy right here.
Where the new idea comes in: In order to take advantage of the natural momentum of the current message series on margin, we're highlighting a short-term on-campus study called Simplify by Bill Hybels. We're mentioning Simplify in both our weekend messages themselves and the announcements because it is a natural next step that can be promoted out of the margin series. The original three options (i.e., Laugh Your Way, etc.) will be promoted on the back side of the bulletin insert.
Can you see it? I'll keep you posted as we test the new idea. It feels like a good step to me.
*Note: We are always asking questions about what we've just finished doing, currently doing or thinking about doing next. See the further reading for some of the best questions we ask.
What do you think? Have a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
- Take Advantage of This Short-Term On-Campus Strategy
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Image by Shaun Fisher