This word over that word.
What is the clearest way you can say it?
What if you said it THIS way?
Would this word be better?
When it comes to inviting (or persuading) unconnected people to try a small group or potential leaders to say "yes" to leading a group, I have become a calculating script writer.
I've been called a mad scientist.
I was even referred to as the Script Nazi during one particularly successful church-wide campaign. Note: I understood what they were implying in the best possible way.
All I am saying is that language is important. How you say what you say makes a difference. And because of the urgency of what we're doing, we are going for the biggest difference possible.
All I want to do in this article is persuade you (and your senior pastor) to get serious about two kinds of invitations; two kinds of asks.
Inviting unconnected people to test-drive a small group
There are a four things to note before we get to the language of the ask itself.
First, your senior pastor is the best person to make the invite; to make the ask. In 99% of all churches the senior pastor is the most influential person. That means there is no one else that can make the ask as successfully as your senior pastor.
Second, the very best time to make the ask is during the senior pastor's sermon or message. If you're going to be successful, it will happen when the largest number of people are paying attention to what is being said (i.e., NOT during the announcements).
Third, be sure and provide a way to respond to the ask immediately. Don't miss the fact that every minute between the ask and the opportunity to respond decreases the responsiveness. That means whether you've handed everyone a sign-up form on the way into the auditorium or have created a text keyword to a text short code (or any method in between), the greatest response will occur immediately after (or during) the ask.
Finally, be sure and make the ask several weekends in a row. It's important to understand that unconnected people are the least frequent attendees. They will not be in the room on the weekend you make the ask (unless you make the ask multiple weekends in a row).
Two example asks:
For a Small Group Connection, GroupLink or Semester:
"If you want this year to be different than last year, I want to encourage you to sign up to attend a small group connection and join a 6-week group. As helpful as we hope the weekend service is, being connected with a few other people who are going in the direction you are going makes a huge difference in your life. If you'd like to put your toe in the water and attend the connection, just fill out the short form you were handed on the way in (or text CONNECT to 90210) and we'll get you connected."
For a church-wide campaign:
"I'm about to begin a new message series. it's called Transformed: How God Changes You. This is going to be a powerful season; one I believe will be life-changing. But in order to get the most out of the weekend teaching, you need to join a 6-week group that is using the study that goes along with the weekend teaching. It's easy to join a group for the 6-week study! Just fill out the short form you were handed on the way in (or text CONNECT to 90210) and we'll get you connected.
Inviting people to "do the study with a couple friends"
Whether you're preparing to launch a church-wide campaign or simply promoting a study that will appeal to unconnected people, there are weekend attendees who have unconnected friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family. It's important to remember that most of the unconnected men and women in your congregation and crowd are more connected outside your church than they are inside your church. Note: The most connected people in your church are the least connected outside your church.
That said, one of the easiest and most productive asks you can make is to simply provide a kit containing everything needed to invite "a couple friends to do the study with you." See also, What's in the kit?
Here's the script:
"In the next few weeks we'll begin a 7 week study called Transformed: How God Changes You. At its essence, it is a study about how to get healthy in the 7 areas of your life (i.e., physical health, financial health, emotional, spiritual, etc.) If you'd like to do the study with a couple friends, stop off at the Transformed kiosk on your way out of the service today. We've created a kit, very reasonably priced, that has everything you need to do the Transformed study with a couple friends,"