Top 10 Reasons Church-Wide Campaigns Miss the Mark
While there is no question that a church-wide campaign is the most powerful strategy for launching a wave of new groups, there is quite a difference between the results of a well conceived, well planned and well executed campaign and anything less. See also, Ranking the Most Powerful Strategies for Launching New Groups.
Church-wide campaigns that are well conceived, well planned and well executed result in wide participation, higher follow-through, broader community interaction, and deeper values integration.
However, many church-wide campaigns aren’t home runs or even solid base hits. Instead, they’re often more like a strikeout.
Here are my top 10 reasons church-wide campaigns miss the mark:
- Selecting a topic that doesn’t engage the crowd, from the hard end of the Easy/Hard continuum. Too often the topic of the campaign just isn’t something that unconnected people care about. Instead, it’s a topic that the usual suspects are fascinated by but is nowhere to be found on the radar of unconnected people. See also How to Choose the Right Church-Wide Campaign.
- Missing the strategic window of optimum launch dates, either too impatient to wait or too slow to gear up. The launch window can make or break the success of the campaign. Choosing the right window takes discipline and strategic savvy. See also, When Is the Best Time to Launch a Church-Wide Campaign.
- Failing to help your members build neighborhood or work relationships in advance of the campaign. A campaign on a topic that might interest unconnected people in the crowd or community depends on members actually knowing their neighbors and co-workers. See also, Build Crowd to Core Flow in Advance.
- Hand-selecting group leaders from the usual suspects (core and committed) fails to capitalize on the relationships of the congregation and crowd. It is almost always the case that the most connected people within your church are the least connected in their neighborhood and the least connected within the congregation are the most connected in the neighborhood. If you want to connect beyond the usual suspects, you must leverage the connections of the least connected people in your church. See also, Do You Know This Game-Changing Connection Secret?
- Failing to engage key opinion leaders who influence the congregation. Right after ensuring that your senior pastor and staff are all in on the campaign, it is essential to engage key opinion leaders who will influence the congregation. Without the buy-in of elders, deacons, ministry leaders and other key opinion leaders, many campaigns are doomed to failure, never really gathering the wide support they need to succeed.
- Identifying the campaign topic too late, missing the opportunity to find testimonies that recruit hosts or members. Next to your senior pastor’s influence, there is nothing like the testimony of a satisfied customer who has benefitted from group involvement in the past. (See also How to Develop Video or Live Testimony that Recruits Leaders and Members and Video that Recruits Hosts).
- Failing to use key marketing options to promote the campaign more broadly and engage wider participation. Bulletin, website, email, social media, and signage all play their part in promoting broadly to encourage wide participation. Since unconnected people are almost always infrequent attenders, missing this step leads to campaign disaster. See also, Promoting the Launch Series.
- Failing to dedicate the right number of weeks to promote the campaign. Unconnected people are almost always infrequent attenders. Unless you make the “host ask” two or three weeks in a row, you will miss out on many potential leaders (and their friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives). Unless you make the “join a group” ask two or three weeks in a row, you will miss out on connecting many unconnected people. See also, How to Make the Small Group Ask – The 2012 Version and Why You Must Make the Host Ask Several Weeks in a Row.
- Failing to choose a “next curriculum” for new groups and introduce the next small group material early enough to keep new groups energized and engaged. The next study must be “similar in kind” (DVD-driven and plug-and-play), It must also be introduced at the right time and in the right way in order to maintain momentum . See also, 5 Reasons Your New Groups Are Short-Lived (i.e., die before their time) and What’s Next? When and How to Promote the Next Curriculum.
- Allowing the Senior Pastor to delegate the role of vision caster to anyone else. The most influential person is 99% of all churches is the senior pastor. If you want the largest participation, you must leverage your senior pastor’s influence. See also, Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups and 5 Things Senior Pastors Need to Know about Small Group Ministry.
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Church-Wide Campaign Coaching
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- Led many of the largest churches in America through the campaign process
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Image by Andrew Lewin