How to Build a Small Group Ministry in a Sunday School Culture, Part 3

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The second step in building a small group ministry in a church with a Sunday School culture is to develop your plan well in advance. And for some of you…that is a very hard thing to do. The natural predisposition is to operate in a “ready, fire, aim” mode. Maybe even a “fire, fire, fire” mode. The idea that you may need to slow down and actually develop the plan in advance may frustrate you. But it will help smooth over unnecessary ruffles for the rest of the organization.

Here are the five key ingredients in developing a plan:

  1. Develop an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet before you do anything.  By pulling together a few people who understand why you want to build a small group ministry, you should be able to think up the questions that people will have.
  2. Identify the key opinion leaders in your existing Sunday School organization and make time to work through the idea with each of them.  Assurance that this additional opportunity will not eliminate what they’re involved in will go a long ways in helping them field questions later.
  3. Develop a pilot opportunity before you pull the trigger on any larger effort.  In a pilot you’ll be able to test the idea out, see how it works and make adjustments.  In addition, you’ll be able to capture some great stories about how God is at work in the lives of the people in your new small groups.  Plan on capturing some of these stories about how God works to use in a future larger launch.
  4. Take advantage of the power of a church-wide campaign to maximize start up potential.  Using a curriculum that goes along with a message series is an easy way to encourage many in your congregation to put a toe in the water of a small group.  Here are a few suggestions for popular church-wide campaigns.
  5. Choose a strategic time of the year to launch new groups.  The best times tend to be late September/early October or late January/early February.  Often piloting a few groups off of Easter will give you the stories you need to launch a wave of new groups in the fall.

You can read part 4 of my series right here.


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