How Serious Are You…About Connecting 150%?

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You say you want to be a church of small groups.  You say you want to be a church where nobody stands alone.  You say you want to connect 150% of your weekend adult worship attendance.  All good, pithy, mantras.  But what are you really doing to make that happen?  How serious are you about doing what you’re talking about?

That is a tough one, isn’t it?  After all…it’s one thing to say it.  It’s another thing to actually put it on the front burner and become preoccupied with making it happen.  But guess what.  If you want connecting 150% of your weekend adult worship attendance to actually happen, it must become a consuming preoccupation.

So…do you really want to go there?  You know that business as usual won’t do it, right?  After all, the truth is that “your ministry is perfectly designed to give you the results you’re currently getting.”  If you want different results you’re going to have to do different things.  Do you really want to connect 150%?  If you do, here are a few keys to moving onto the right trajectory:

  1. Do the hard work of assessing where you really are.  Don’t guestimate.  This isn’t a time for “ministerially speaking” or optimism based on high-water marks of the last church-wide campaign.  Instead, gather accurate information about the number of active groups you have along with the number of active participants.  Be careful about who you count.  You will need to decide what you’ll count as a group and what you’ll call “active.”  My recommendation is that you set aggressive standards.  In other words, groups that meet once a month or once a quarter don’t count.  In addition, you may decide that you’re only going to count groups that meet off-campus or for something more than teaching/information-based content.  Just be consistent.
  2. Next, determine the total number of adults who are part of your congregation.  The temptation is to take your average adult weekend worship attendance.  That is a place to start, but realize that the average adult in your congregation probably isn’t there every week.  That is very significant because it means if you average 200 adults every Sunday, but the average adult only attends twice a month, then you really have 400 individual adults over the course of the month.  For that reason, you’ll really need to take a number like the adult worship attendance for last Easter or Christmas Eve and use that to represent all of the adults in your congregation.
  3. Can you see the equation looming?  Take the total number of adults and subtract the number already active in a group (as defined in #1).  Now you know how many unconnected adults you have.
  4. Last, take the number of unconnected adults and divide by 10.  That will give you a sense of the number of new groups it will take to connect everyone.

Pretty daunting?  It should be.  It will take preoccupation to get there.  You can do it, but you won’t drift into 150% connection.  It will take a consuming preoccupation and it will take more than intent.  It will also require a path.  More on that later.

So far you’ve got the beginnings of an understanding of where your church is right now.  You know your percentage connected and that’s important, but it’s only the beginning.  What else do you need to know?  Next up is a list of diagnostic questions that will uncover a deeper layer of what’s true about where your congregation is right now.

  1. Does your senior pastor own the idea of connecting 150%?  Does your staff?  Do your deacons or elders?
  2. How clear is it that your aim is that adult needs to be in a group?  Are you blatant and consistent in your messaging?  Do you say the same things no matter who you are talking to?
  3. How easy is the next step for an adult in your congregation?  Can they join a group without jumping through a lot of hoops?  Can they get involved without waiting for open enrollment?  Can they do it 24/7?
  4. How obvious is the next step for an unconnected adult in your congregation?  Do they see “find a small group” on the home page of your website?  Or do they have to know to click on “Grow” and then “Discipleship Options” and then “Life Groups” and then finally see where they can fill in a form?
  5. How well designed is your process?  When an unconnected adult takes an initial step and joins a 40 Days group, do you have a step in your process that will help them find a new group if the group doesn’t continue?

How serious are you about connecting 150%?  If you really want to go there, it will take a consuming preoccupation.  Want to go there but need help?  Take advantage of Getting To There, a free, 30 day path designed to help you take the right next steps.

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