If you’re like most churches you’re now convinced that an annual church-wide campaign (an alignment) is a great way to help start new small groups. That jury is already in.
The question most are asking is what’s the best way to start groups the rest of the year? The answer? Any way you can…but there is another little known and way underused strategy that is so simple and yet sooooo effective.
What’s the strategy? Use special days like Mother’s Day and Fathers Day to jump start small groups. It’s not even very hard. Take a little preparation. Add a decision or two. Throw in a couple weeks’ of promotion. Make a quality “ask” and you’ve got the toe-in-the-water experience that many people need to take the first step. Why wait until September? Here’s what to do to use this strategy and launch groups on Father’s Day:
First, make a decision. You can use Father’s Day to launch men’s small groups. Or you can use the day to launch couples’ or mixed groups. More on that in a minute. For now, just figure out which of the two you’d like to start.
Second, choose a plug-and-play curriculum for your new groups. It’s very helpful to select a DVD-driven study for these toe-in-the-water groups. There are some really good studies out there. I’ve got some suggestions right here. Don’t overcomplicate this step. The key is to choose a curriculum that is easy to use on a topic that the group you’re targeting will be interested in.
Third, start promoting the opportunity a week before Father’s Day. This year Father’s Day is on June 15th. Provide an insert in your bulletin to take sign-ups to come to a connecting event the week after Father’s Day.
Fourth, on Father’s Day continue your promotion of the event but add this detail. Have your pastor refer to the power of being in a small group in the message. A simple story or an illustration. Have the men take out the insert. “If you’re not in a small group and you’re ready to take this step you can join us at the connection on Sunday, June 22nd. Just fill out this insert and drop it in the offering at the end of today’s service.”
Fifth, send a reminder letter (and email) to all of the sign-ups on Monday, June 16th. Call all of the sign-ups on Saturday, June 21st.
Last, host a small group connection on Sunday, June 22nd. This step can be as easy as pre-selecting a few leaders who will help get the groups off to a good start or you can do a real connection and identify new leaders right there on the spot. Either way, or anywhere in between, you’ll end up with a great opportunity to help a wave of people take first steps in getting connected in a small group!