FAQ: How Do You Get Those on the Fringe to Lead Groups?

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I get questions…a lot of questions.  And some of them are just too good to pass up.  In response to my post, I Dreamed I Was at the Southern Baptist Convention…, I got this question:

I have always appreciated your thinking on these subjects, however I have some questions for you.  How do you get those on the fringe to lead groups.  We can hardly get them to do anything much less step-out and start a group in their home or anywhere.  What is the divine spark?  Do you use campaigns, ready made dvd lessons they can lead?  What gets those spiritual infants to take step out.

Good questions…don’t you think?  Maybe you’ve even asked them yourself.  Here’s my answer:

There are several keys to understanding how this works.

First, I think you might need a better understanding of what I’m calling crowd’s edge.  Think about the folks that attend less than twice a month.  I like to think “they’re one conversation away, one life event away, from deciding to make attending a more regular event.  It may be strange to think of it that way, but it’s the reason so many refer back to an Easter or Christmas Eve service and say “that’s when I really got it.”  Or they might refer to a message series that pulled them in (“We didn’t miss a week during the 40 Days of Purpose”).”  See also, A Road Map to Crowd’s Edge.

Second, think about who their friends are, who their closest connections are?  Unlike the most connected people in your congregation, their friends have never even been to your church.  Ever.  What if you made it possible for the least connected adults in your church to invite their friends to join them for a small group?  “I know it doesn’t sound like something I’d do…but we’re going to watch this video about figuring out your life’s purpose and talk about it.”  See also, Do You Know This Game-Changing Connection Secret?

Third, think about the kind of topic that would make it easy for the least connected people to invite their friends.  Obviously, the topic you choose determines a lot.  Doing a series on prayer?  Evangelism?  How about 40 Days in the Word?  Trust me…those are the wrong topics if you want your least connected attendees to play.  On the flip side, what about 40 Days of Purpose?  How about Pressure Points?  How about WEiRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working.  See also, Does Your Topic Connect with Your True Customer and Your Church-Wide Campaign Topic Determines Two Huge Outcomes.

Full Disclosure: It’s never as easy as I make it sound.  It’s always hard work.  And when you do what I’m truly suggesting, not half way, full on, you will see amazing things happen.  You’ll see the very people I’m suggesting who will pick up a grab and go kit and invite their family and friends.  And their lives will never, ever be the same.  Ever.

What do you think?  Have a question? Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Jason Krohn on August 29, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Good thoughts Mark.

    I know one thing that we talk about when dealing with “crowd’s edge” is what life circumstances many of these folks deal with. For us many times they’re so busy taking their kids to ball games, having fun with their family, hunting, fishing, working, etc. they see launching a group as a huge undertaking and something that they haven’t seen the VALUE of yet.

    So we encourage a “try it for this series” or “try it for four weeks” approach. This provides a clear beginning and end.

    We also work hard to break down false barriers they may have constructed about what a group is and provide people with a “starting place” for a group. We keep it as simple as

    take your notes today

    grab a couple or two after church

    and have a spiritual conversation about what you thought about the message.

    Once they find value in laughing and growing together they’re much more likely to step into deeper waters and lead more intentionally. Even if they decide not to lead they have a much clearer picture of how a group works and would be more likely to attend. Both of these avenues lead to LifeChange which is the goal for our groups.

  2. markchowell on August 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I love it! Good stuff here, Jason! Thanks for sharing.