FAQ: How Should We Respond to Objections about Who Can Host?

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I get a lot of questions.  This one is so important I wanted to share at least part of it with you.

Here’s their situation:

We have been recruiting hosts using all of your suggestions, principles, scripts, etc.  We even said that a non-Christian could host a group.  We entirely dropped recruiting group “guides” (this is what we had been calling leaders already, to lower the bar).  Sunday, a couple came back to church after being out several months.  They are living together and she is pregnant.  They signed up to be hosts.

Here’s his questions:

So, how do we respond to people who will object to them hosting a group?  We do one-step signup.  We list the names of hosts on the back of the Connection Card.  All you need to do to signup for a group is check  the line beside the name of the host whose group you want to attend.  Should we include their names in the list of hosts for which people can signup?  What about when we ask hosts to stand in the service?  Should we ask them to stand at the group information table?

Those are some great questions!  Not problem-free.  Just good stuff to work through.  Let me start at the end and work my way back to the beginning:

First, every church makes their own determination about who can host a group and what the requirements to host should be.  My post on Customized Leader Requirements and Benefits is my attempt to fully work out these concerns, but the simple answer is that the circumstances of a new host should determine what level of promotion they receive.

For example, it has been my practice for the last few years to only allow hosts that have jumped through certain hoops to be listed online (attend host orientation, complete new leader questionnaire, etc.).  While anyone can pick up the host packet and fill their own group with their own friends, only those I’ve vetted can be included in the online finder.  But, can’t you imagine the friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers of the couple mentioned in the question?  Why wouldn’t you want to help them start a group and invite their own friends?  My post Do You Know This Game-Changing Connection Secret? takes a stab at explaining the potential of this idea.

If you haven’t been clear on this, you might have some hard work ahead to skillfully and sensitively explain what you can do for them, but even that can be done.

Second, can you see how your question about responding to objections about who can host a group would be influenced by the steps I list above?  Not to say that objections and concerns can be eliminated.  They can’t.  But they can definitely be limited.  For example, once I establish that only groups with a little more accountability are listed online (or in the catalog), I can add that we’ve chosen this study specifically to allow our attendees with the most friends outside our church to invite them to join their group.  Will that satisfy every objector?  No, probably not.  But it will help frame the conversation.

Note: This is a seriously complex issue.  Every church will have to work it out for themselves.  At the same time, I urge you to try and look at it with the perspective that Jesus had when he told the Gerasene demoniac to “go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.”

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

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  1. Brian Phipps on September 18, 2012 at 7:44 am

    We used the HOST strategy again this semester. We have 175 new groups. Our guess is that about 700 people, not from our church, are in a group for the first time pronouncing God’s word with Rick Warren. We didn’t have any requirements beyond a 30 minute orientation on the front end, but do have requirements for taking a NEXT step with the group. So far, we know of two concerns we are starting to address… pretty low price to pay for 700 taking a first step.

  2. markchowell on September 18, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I LOVE it! Just imagine what this is going to mean for 700 people. That is so good. Thanks Brian!