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I’ve written in the past about how to use special days (like Father’s Day) to launch groups.  Just thought I’d give you an update on how it works out when you actually do it.

This year on Mother’s Day we launched a strategy to jump start some new women’s small groups.  We used the following ingredients:

  • We chose four studies that we thought would appeal to women (Bad Girls of the Bible, Parenting, The Me I Want to Be, and Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch).
  • We chose a date for a women’s small group connection that was two weeks after Mother’s Day.
  • We put the event on the website (where you could click to register), in the monthly newsletter available in the lobby, in the bulletin (both an announcement and a spot on the tear-off to register).
  • Our Senior Pastor worked the importance of being connected into his message, referred to the bulletin, and encouraged the women to sign up (“drop the tear-off in the offering or take it to our guest and information center”)
  • We announced it again at the end of the service
  • We announced it again the following week at the end of the service
  • We announced it on the day of and said “whether you signed up or not, we have room for you at the women’s connection.

Outcome: We launched 7 new women’s small groups using the small group connection strategy.

Approaching Father’s Day, things looked a little different.  Two weeks after Father’s Day was the July 4th weekend.  Not a good time to hold a connection, so we tweaked the strategy.  Here’s what we did:

  • We chose a book (The Measure of a Man, by Gene Getz) and planned to launch an a.m. and a p.m. “summer book study” on Tuesday, July 6th.
  • We announced it on the website (where you could click to register), in the monthly newsletter available in the lobby, and in the bulletin (as both an announcement and on the tear-off).
  • On Father’s Day our pastor worked it into his message and encouraged men to sign up to be a part (“It’s easier to become the man God wants you to become when you’re connected with some other guys going the same way”).
  • We announced it again at the end of the service and encouraged men to drop their form in the offering or take it to the guest and information center.
  • We repeated the process for the next 2 weekends (mention in the message and announcement at the end).

Outcome: We had our first a.m. and p.m. sessions yesterday.  We had about 60 signed up and 92 men show up.  Here’s what we did during the first session:

  • They signed in, put on a name tag, and paid for their book.
  • When they came in, they found a seat at a table with 4 to 6 chairs.
  • We had them introduce themselves and tell the group how they came to Parkview and what made them come back.
  • We sorted them out geographically and had them move to a new table with a few guys who live near them.
  • At the new table they shared what prompted them to sign up for the book study and what they hoped to get out of it.
  • They also shared if they’d ever been in a group before and what was their experience like.
  • At the end of the session we talked briefly about their assignment for the week and then had them get the name and phone number of the person to their right and commit to call them during the week to check in.
  • We prayed to close the meeting and dismissed.  Many of the men hung out and talked for 5 to 10 minutes (and some much longer).  Few knew each other before the session.

What’s the point?  You can connect people year-round if you look for ways to do it.  Change it up.  Adapt your concept to fit the calender.  Don’t be afraid to try it a different way.

And one other thing…let us know what’s working!

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