Frequently Asked Questions about Small Group Connections

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pointing connectionI get asked a lot of questions about the ins and outs of small group connections.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

  1. How many unconnected people do you need in order to hold a successful small group connection? I have successfully connected people with as few as 20 to 30 and as many as 350 in a single room. The more people you have, the better the affinity you can manufacture. The smaller the attendance, the more likely it becomes that you’ll end up with groups that don’t have enough in common to stick.
  2. What do you do if you don’t have enough people to form a good group for everyone at the connection? There are definitely times when there won’t be enough people to form all the groups you hope to form. For example, you might have enough couples and enough women to form couples’ groups and women’s groups, but only have 2 men show up. What do I do? We are always ready to call an audible and promise to do everything possible to connect everyone with the best match possible within 48 hours. That usually means an already existing men’s group. When we’ve done everything possible and there still isn’t a match, we call the person back and do our best to find a way to connect them.
  3. What happens if the group just doesn’t pick a leader or picks more than one? What they are being guided to choose is the “person they’d be willing to follow for a 6-week test-drive.” When you carefully follow the strategy it will almost always produce more than one leader from every group. In rare instances, it will only produce one leader. When the group is unanimous in their selection, something has almost always gone wrong.
  4. What happens if the group picks someone who is not a good choice? When the strategy is carefully followed, the group will almost always choose the best candidate(s). The connection strategy is designed to help each group choose the best potential leader(s). They might not meet the standards you have for a small group leader.  You might think of it as choosing the best candidate relative to the other members of the group. It is very common for the group’s selection to be considered a potential leader subject to a set of next steps (i.e., fill out a questionnaire, meet with a coach during the first 6 weeks, attend a leaders’ orientation, etc.).
  5. What happens when the chosen leader doesn’t want to be the leader? This does happen every once in a while. But since every group almost always chooses 2 (or more) leaders, there is almost always a fall back option. And on those rare occasions when things just go awry, you can always call an audible and ask “who would like to host the first meeting?”
  6. Doesn’t the small group connection strategy feel like a bait-and-switch to the people chosen as leaders? When I gather the newly chosen leaders for a brief standup meeting at the end of the connection event, I always ask two questions. First, I ask, “How many of you came tonight expecting to end up as the leader of a group?” There are always one or two people who raise their hands. Second, I ask, “How many of you feel a little bit like you got tricked? You came expecting to be in a group and you ended up the leader?” And there are almost always several who raise their hands. Which brings me to the main purpose for the leaders standup meeting at the end of the connection. I spend the last few minutes reminding them that there are no good stories in the Bible, Old Testament or New, of people volunteering to be a leader. All of the stories are about people being chosen. You’ll find a very complete example of how I talk about this in Here’s How I Lead a Small Group Connection.
  7. Are small group leaders of already existing groups (looking for a few new members) allowed to use the connection to fish for new members? No. The purpose of a small group connection is to identify new leaders and launch new groups. If you’re looking for a way to add members to existing groups, consider holding a small group fair. See also, Distinctives of the Three Types of Connecting Events.

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

Image by Gabe Austin

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1 Comment

  1. Zachariah Michael Imboden on August 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    thank you this is a great tool to use with my coaches as we prepare for our first group connect event