Ever said, “I can’t find enough leaders?” How about, “My group leaders are constantly coming to me, looking for more members?” Ever asked this question: “How come when we do a church-wide campaign, even an outreach focused campaign, none of our leaders invite neighbors or friends?”
Can I let you in on an important truth? All of these statements and questions are symptoms of a core-to-crowd grouplife strategy. You know…the idea that by investing in the core, by focusing on ideas like apprenticing new leaders, they’ll learn to invest and invite unconnected people.
It sounds logical. It even sounds biblical. But it just doesn’t happen. Investing in the core, in the “usual suspects,” almost never produces sufficient new leaders to take care of the need in the congregation (let alone the growing need along the edges of the crowd). Investing in the core almost never produces an outward focused mentality. It almost always does the reverse. Instead, it produces an inward focus.
Crowd-To-Core Breaks the Cycle
Can I tell you one more thing? The x-factor really is near the edge (not in the core). If you want to find more leaders, if you want leaders that naturally fill their own group, if you want leaders that actually know people outside the core…you need to learn to recruit from further out. GroupLife is different near crowd’s edge.
See, when I learn to recruit leaders from near the edge, a number of things begin to change:
- Genuinely new leaders are open to coaching
- While the “usual suspects” have grown closer and closer to group members already in the core, new leaders from the edges of the congregation still have plenty of connections outside the congregation.
- It becomes easier to identify the number of leaders that can help connect the congregation and begin to transform the community.
Is it neat and tidy? No. It’s messy. It’s full of problems. And nothing is ever as easy as it sounds. But you know what? Every solution has problems. That’s why I always say, “There is no problem-free. You can only choose the set of problems you’d rather have.” For my money…I’d always rather have the problems associated with helping new leaders from the edge take next steps spiritually while they help connect their friends from the crowd (and even the community).
One last note? Identifying new leaders from the edge is not only messy and full of problems…it probably also feels a lot like it did for Paul working ever further away from the home base of Jerusalem.
Want things to be different in your grouplife effort? You’ve got to do different things if you want different results. After all, “Your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you’re currently experiencing (Andy Stanley).” Want different? Move out closer to the edge.