Trust me. I wanted to call these "surprising" or "shocking" characteristics, but I just couldn't do it. They're no-brainer characteristics. Still, it is both surprising and shocking that so many churches say that groups are a priority...but just can't seem to commit to developing the characteristics that make connecting beyond 100% possible.
What are the characteristics?
Here are the 5 characteristics I've found in every case:
1. A senior pastor that walks the talk and talks year-round.
Who is surprised? Anybody? If you want to connect beyond 100% of your adult weekend worship attendance...there is no substitute for a senior pastor who is all in. Need a work-around? I don't know of one. Have a senior pastor who has to get creative and call his staff meeting a group? Don't bank on it. Have a senior pastor that highlights groups (along with every other ministry) at least once a year? Don't pin your hopes on it. Connecting beyond 100% of your average weekend adult attendance requires a senior pastor who is all in all the time.
2. A year-round connection strategy.
Churches that have connected beyond 100% of their average weekend adult worship attendance know that an annual small group campaign isn't enough and won't connect everyone. Connecting beyond 100% of your average weekend adult worship attendance requires building a year-round strategy that makes connecting easy and non-stop; just around the corner.
See also, 5 Keys to Launching Small Groups Year-Round.
3. First steps designed with unconnected people in mind.
Connecting unconnected people requires an understanding of their needs and interests. Very few things are truly one-size-fits-all. This is not one of them. What an already connected member of the core or committed cares about or is intrigued by almost never crosses the minds of the unconnected members of the crowd (or even the outside edge of the congregation). Churches that connect beyond 100% of their average weekend adult worship attendance design their connecting strategies with the needs and interests of unconnected people in mind.
4. A commitment to launch and sustain new groups.
New groups is an important distinction. Energy spent on connecting people to existing groups is a loser's game. Churches that connect beyond 100% teach existing group leaders to fill their own groups and focus their energy on launching and sustaining new groups. Don't miss this. The commitment to sustain new groups is not an afterthought. This commitment is made in advance with scary intentionality.
5. An intentional leader development strategy.
Developing leaders is not left to chance. It is intentional and built into the very beginnings of a new group. The design is intentionally holistic and makes it easy to begin and nearly automatic to continue. The commitment to develop group leaders underpins a commitment to building an effective coaching structure as an important part of the leader development delivery system.
Do you have the full set of characteristics that make connecting beyond 100% possible. Missing one or two? Missing several? In my experience you need them all. And if you don't have the full set of characteristics? Well, you know what they say about horseshoes and hand grenades?
What do you think? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
Image by Linda