Build Crowd to Core Flow in Advance

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Many effective strategies are multi-component strategies.  That is, there are multiple essential components to the strategy and effectiveness and impact are a result of these components working together.  HOST, often used in conjunction with launching a church-wide campaign, is an example of a multi-component strategy.

Remember that in the HOST strategy, the “T” stands for “Tell a few of your friends.”*  And this is an essential component.  Raising up a wave of people who have a Heart for unconnected people, willing to Open up their homes and Serve a few refreshments is great, but inviting them to”Tell a few of your friends” is what makes the HOST strategy exponential.  It is also where the challenge for many churches arise.

There are at least two reasons this component is a challenge:

  1. Although you attempt to be clear in your “ask,” when you say, “Tell a few of your friends” many in your congregation hear, “We’ll provide the group members.”  As much as this may happen also, it isn’t the primary intent of the strategy.
  2. Your members may respond or want to respond but not really know any of their neighbors or co-workers.  This is why building crowd-to-core flow in advance is an essential component.

How To Build Crowd-To-Core Flow

  1. Start early.  You can’t begin too early.
  2. Regularly cast a vision for God’s heart for the community and the crowd.  Passages like Matthew 9:36 and 2 Kings 6-7 are at the heart of the story.
  3. Provide periodic opportunities for your congregation to put this vision into practice.
  4. Use video and live testimony to tell stories about how HOSTs are helping people find their way back to God.

A Great Example from Saddleback

In the fall of 2007 Saddleback repeated the 40 Days of Purpose.  They began talking about the upcoming church-wide study in mid-spring, 2007, encouraging members to “Use the summer to get to know your neighbors.  Invite them over for a barbeque or dessert.”  Further, they asked members to host block parties for Labor Day and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish to share along with the recipe.  The block party attendees voted on which dish was the best and included the winner in a church cookbook (proceeds going to support an important community need).

Sound like fun?  Can you see how a few opportunities, planned well in advance, would enable your congregation to do a better job as hosts “telling a few of their friends and neighbors?”  What’s the key?  Start early!

Do you have ideas you’d like to share?  Use the comment section below to spread the word about the ideas you’re using.

*In the orignal version of HOST, Rick Warren used “Turn on your VCR.”  Becoming even more exponential, it has become, “Tell a few of your friends.”

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  1. Larry Baxter on February 19, 2013 at 6:44 am

    I love the change in the “T” 🙂 We’ll be talking about post-Easter plans in our SLT meeting this week. We recently signed up for RightNow Media (aka Netflix for great Small Group Video Studies) and I am thinking that might form the basis for pulling in a lot of unconnected people via micro-groups. Find a study of interest and literally find two-three other friends who will do it together with you – and if they don’t go to our church that’s even better. Have you ever launched such a RightNow based campaign (or have heard from others who did?) There are challenges with that compared to regular HOST style, especially the lack of leader notes for most studies, the lack of one church-wide study, and inexperienced leaders. Last Fall for our big campaign we did a traditional HOST approach, using The Me I Want to Be. I followed everything you posted on this, got huge support from the lead pastor who weaved it into several sermons during HOST recruitment, and we got an incredibly low sign-up.

    Any thoughts on this kind of approach, or what do you do when HOST sign-up is low despite doing all the things you’ve recommended?!

  2. markchowell on February 19, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Hi Larry! Thanks for jumping in. Email me and let me ask a few questions.

  3. […] providing a community and a roadmap to get them there. (Thanks to Mark Howell for his terminology here on core and crowd. My original terms were “engaged” and […]