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"If you do always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got."

Regardless of whether that line originated with Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, or Mark Twain...some things are just true truths of life. And it may never be more true than the fall of 2020.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don't assume that COVID-19 put an end to the upside of a fall launch. On the contrary, there has never been a better season to focus on helping unconnected people connect and spiritual toddlers and infants experience a growth spurt!  

COVID-19 notwithstanding, whether you're preparing for a full on church-wide campaign, the fall semester of your small group ministry model, or simply your annual small group launch, it's not uncommon for some crazy good optimizing tactics to be overlooked simply because they are unfamiliar.

Here are 5 simple but crazy good ideas:

1. Promote the launch three weeks in a row. 

Don't overlook the fact that unconnected people are almost always infrequent attenders (and with churches meeting online only, infrequent attenders are joining even less frequently). If you only promote your groups launch on one weekend, there is a very good chance they will not be there.

The best ideas are almost always totally obvious. And, at the same time, churches that underperform at connecting unconnected people are usually short-cutting some obvious marketing principles. When the product being sold is really important, you talk about it until you're tired of talking about it. And that's when the customer finally begins to hear what you're saying.

See also, Design Your Connection Strategy with Unconnected People in Mind.

2. Leverage your senior pastor's influence. 

Your senior pastor may be hesitant to use the sermon to promote upcoming opportunities, but there are few assets as valuable as a strategic mention inside the sermon (especially if it is 2 or 3 weekends in a row). Unlike your announcement time, the content of your weekend program, and your website, your senior pastor's message is the closest thing you can get to the undivided attention of unconnected people.

See also, Top 5 Things Every Senior Pastor Needs to Know.

3. Narrow the focus on promotion weekends. 

Do your best negotiating to eliminate competing announcements on the weekends you're promoting the groups launch. And you seriously may have to engage in some negotiation. If you'll work at it creatively, and maybe throw in an incentive or two, you may be able to end up being the only initiative being promoted on those key weekends.

See also, What If Narrowing the Focus Is THE Missing Piece?

4. Make starting new groups your priority.

This may be a change for your ministry. Don't miss this, though. Starting new groups (and identifying new leaders) leads to more people connected in groups.

Strategies like small group fairs or the start of a new small group semester offering sign-ups for groups that have a table at the fair or are in the catalog often do nothing more than keeping your existing groups full and your current leaders happy.

If you want to grow the number of groups and the number of leaders, make starting new groups your priority and teach your existing leaders to fish (for new members).

Special Note: To focus on starting new groups you will almost certainly have to make starting new online groups your priority. See also, 7 Things to Keep in Mind When Hosting an Online Connection.

See also, Are You Prioritizing the Launch of New Groups?

5. Incentivize the launch of organic studies.

Alongside your main strategies, consider encouraging people to "do the study with a couple friends." Whether you're using a church-wide campaign, an upcoming small group connection or the beginning of a new groups semester to launch groups, add the opportunity for people who would like to "do the study with a couple friends." And while you're doing that, incentivize it.

When you're encouraging your congregation to "do the study with a couple friends" it's important to eliminate as many objections and limitations as possible. For example, making the host kit affordable so that the inviter can buy the kit and give invitees the study guide, eliminates the objection that "I can't afford to pay for three study guides."

See also, Saddleback Changed the Church-Wide Campaign Game...Again.

Need more ideas? Consider these mini-courses:

Supercharge Your Fall Ministry Season

Supercharge Your Fall Ministry Season contains the latest strategies and ideas.

If you’re looking for a way to reach more people, launch more new groups (and sustain a high percentage of what you launch)…please consider taking advantage of Supercharge Your Fall Ministry Season.

How to MAXIMIZE Your Church-Wide Campaign

The Strategy I Use Works (and works BIG time)

What I coach churches to do works. I’ll coach you to:

  • Recruit way more leaders than you ever thought possible
  • Launch more groups than ever before
  • Connect WAY beyond the usual suspects
  • Recruit and train the coaches you need in order to sustain the new groups you launch

I can teach you my simple process. You will never look at campaigns the same way again.

You can learn to launch a powerful church-wide campaign. Take advantage of How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign.


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