In a recent post, I pointed out the fact that we’re not living in “a day when the status quo is a good thing. At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century…it is clearly time to develop a bias toward what’s next.” To help all of us figure out what’s next, I’ve asked a number of the best-known grouplife practitioners to share their latest learnings. Here’s what Eddie Mosley had to say:
First, a little LifePoint History:
LifePoint conducts semi-annual GroupLinks to connect hundreds of adults from worship to small groups. Many of them connect due to relationships or common life-situations they discover at GroupLink. The week following the GroupLink we celebrate what God did and set up the communication reports for weekly follow-up. Our goal is for at least 80% of adults in worship to be connected in small groups.
As LifePoint Church continued to grow, an increase in adults who attend worship would happen. Our percentage of connectivity would then slide toward 65%. We began to evaluate how we could connect these attendees to one of our next steps, either the Discover LifePoint class, a small group or service team. Some way we needed to get inspiring information to them that was also an easy step, which would eliminate all the issues, excuses or reasons; obstacles.
A New Wrinkle
Our research lead us to offer another opportunity for connection.
We identified the age groups we were connecting the least. Trying to list all the obstacles that these two groups might have was rather difficult, but we addressed the ones that seemed most pressing.
- Scheduling was an issue. People will not adjust their schedule unless they know there is value (and maybe relationship) in the outcome.
- Another obvious issue was childcare. What Small Group ministry has not struggled with this?
- And the obstacle for GroupLife this new opportunity would create was of course, more leaders.
To try and eliminate the scheduling obstacle, we identified leaders, found rooms on campus and began Sunday morning Connection Bible Study groups, along with free child care. We created two groups: one for young couples, another for median adults. But these would not be on-going, join-forever classes; but more an extended GroupLink experience for people to meet others and soon form a small group.
We learned from NorthPoint’s GroupLink that they do not always have enough leaders or the right group for everyone to join at GroupLink. So they created ‘formative groups.’ These are clusters of people that form at GroupLink, but not around a pre-enlisted leader. The group sits and talks for a while during GroupLink. In the discussion someone is asked to guide the conversation and given a “Formative Group” packet of information and instructions. Our plan is very similar except we are creating these opportunities for groups to form on campus for a few weeks on Sundays.
We offer Host Orientations every six weeks for Connections participants to be challenged to step out and lead a new group. Our goal is to start five small groups a year out of these Connections Bible Study groups. This process continues the commitment LifePoint has made to connect people in Biblical community for Discipleship, Community and Service.
Eddie Mosley is the Executive Pastor of GroupLife at LifePoint Church, a dynamic, growing multi-site church that has a heart for its community, its region of Middle Tennessee, and the world through global initiatives. He’s also the author of Connecting in Communities. You can read Eddie’s blog at www.EddieMosley.com and follow him on Twitter.