Scott Boren’s Latest Learning: What Comes After Church-wide Campaigns?

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In a recent post, I pointed out the fact that we’re not living in “a day when the status quo is a good thing.  At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century…it is clearly time to develop a bias toward what’s next.”  To help all of us figure out what’s next, I’ve asked a number of the best-known grouplife practitioners to share their latest learnings.  Here’s what Scott Boren had to say:


Church-wide campaigns have become commonplace in the church strategy today.  In ten to twenty years, they might become as entrenched in our imagination as Sunday School.  From my perspective, I think they are great!  I’ve either written or helped write 11 different sets of curriculum for such campaigns (Click here if you are interested in reviewing them).

There are lots of articles and resources available on the benefits of them and on how to run them.  If you have not done a church-wide campaign, the resourses are available to help you do them well.  You don’t have to recreate the wheel.

However, after working with groups in various capacities, I’ve found it hard to help people move beyond the six-week short-term small group experience into an ongoing healthy community.  We’ve tried quite a few different approaches to help groups grow together, but none of them resulted in what we wanted.  Either they lived in floundering mediocrity (often without even knowing it) or they waited until the next campaign to reconnect.

I’ve seen some who blamed the people in the groups for the lack of commitment to live out community.  After further discussion, we found that the issue is not really about commitment.  The people needed guidance not judgment.  They needed direction for growing into an ongoing group.  When they jumped from the curriculum we provided for the campaign and started doing our sermon guides or another curriculum, the groups might have a good Bible study but they were not dealing with the issues that would help them form into a healthy group.

This led to the development of some experimental curriculum to guide groups through this transition time.  The goal is to help groups assess what it means to take the next step beyond a short-term commitment and develop a few basic relationship skills to empower them to be successful in these next steps.

The curriculum is called The Journey Together. I wrote it for my former church in Saint Paul, MN and I recorded short youtube videos to help groups talk about the topics.  The videos are rough as I developed them for pilot groups so we could attain their feedback.  The response was better than we expected.  The written curriculum has been modified after we worked through this feedback.  I had hoped to record the final videos before I completed my time as a pastor there, but we ran out of time.  The content is final, but the recordings are rough, very much youtube kind of quality.

If you click here, you can download the curriculum for free and view the pilot videos we developed.  If you use this, I encourage you to develop your own youtube videos, even if they are rough and unprofessional.  Make them local.  Make them to fit who you are and what you feel God calling your groups to be.

What do you think? Have a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
Scott Boren is the expert on missional small groups.  Missional Small Groups was on the list that I recommended to everyone this summer and his most recent book, MissioRelate is even better. If you don’t know him, you need to.  You can check out his blog right here and follow him on Twitter right here.

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