Checklist: Prep to Hold the Largest Small Group Connection

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There are certain critical things that must be done if you want to maximize your small group connection. There is also a sequence in which these critical things must be accomplished.

Here is what must be done and the sequence in which they must happen.

  • Meet with senior pastor to get commitment for multi-week promotion. This is a go/no go meeting. Your senior pastor's commitment to use  their influence in the weekend message 2 to 3 weeks in a row prior to the connection insures the best turnout. See also, Top 5 Things Your Senior Pastor Needs to Know about Small Group Ministry.
  • Calendar the small group connection. See also, How to Build an Annual GroupLife Calendar.
  • Make room reservation (including all set-up instructions).
  • Arrange childcare (ideally 12 and under).
  • Depending on the day and time of the connection, you may need to arrange a quick meal (i.e., pizza and soda and/or water) or snacks.
  • Work with website administrator to create web-page promotion for the connection including a registration form for the event. Best Practice: Create a page that can be linked to directly.
  • Arrange sign-up bulletin insert to be used 2 weekends prior to the Connection. Insert should include First Name(s), Last Name, Best Phone, and Best Email. Depending on your planning, insert may also include type of group (i.e., Couples, Men's, Women's, Singles, etc.), and/or date of connection (in case you are offering more than one day or time).
  • Arrange collection of sign-up inserts. Best Practice: Place the offering post-sermon and collect sign-up inserts in the offering. Alternatively, a second pass of offering plates/buckets can be taken after the sermon. Other options are significantly less effective (i.e., drop insert at the door on the way out or turn insert in at the small group booth, etc).
  • Confirm processing of sign-up insert data (This data will form the basis of all follow-up measures and be needed promptly).
  • Write the follow-up emails to be sent to Connection sign-ups. Include a thank you for signing up and all the needed info (i.e., when, where, how long it will last, child-care provided, etc.). Best Practice: These emails should be sent by  the Tuesday immediately following turning in the insert.
  • Write church-wide email re the upcoming small group connection. Send to all unconnected adults (your database should be able to sort a list of unconnected adults) with a link to the sign-up form on your website. Send out the Tuesday after both the first and second weekends of promotion. Best Practice: Create a short video from your senior pastor re the importance of being connected in a group and embed it in the email.
  • Develop an FAQ to be used at the small group booth for the three weekends of promotion. Focus the FAQ on what potential attendees need to know.
  • Arrange announcements three weekends in a row (this is in addition to your senior pastor's mention in sermons). First two weekend re the connection and pointing to the insert. Third weekend, "whether you signed up or not, it's not too late for you to join us at the connection."
  • Recruit and train a team of coaches to monitor the groups forming at the connection. Best Practice: Recruit "Launch Phase" coaches who can attend the connection, monitor conversations and selection process, and walk alongside the leaders chosen for the first 6 to 8 weeks of the new group.
  • Assemble "Connection Event Box" with everything you need for a connection (i.e., name tags, medium point sharpies, group rosters, black pens, clipboards, etc.).
  • Study my articles: How to Launch New Groups with a Small Group Connection and Here's How I Lead a Small Group Connection for specific help on the event itself.
  • See How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure and Basic Training for New Small Group Coaches for specific help on coaching.

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