Looking for a way to connect unconnected people right after Easter 2018? This year Easter is almost as early as it can be and that makes it a great opportunity to connect another wave of people before summer.
The 5 studies I've chosen to highlight were selected on the basis of their topic. Remember, the topic determines who will say yes to leading/hosting and who will say yes to attending. While existing, longer-term groups might want something deeper or meatier, unconnected people are most open to putting a toe-in-the-water when the topic interests them.
Connect + Grow
We've been getting ready to launch our next wave of groups with a new study/experience from North Point Ministries called Connect + Grow, a free 4 part video driven experience (available on Anthology, North Point Ministries' online resource).
A curriculum descendant of Community: Starting Well in Your Small Group (North Point's 2013 game-changing group starting study/experience), Connect + Grow is well-designed and easy to use.
Connect + Grow is not a Bible study. Instead, it's a relational connection engine. Created to help new groups begin (with or without a prequalified leader), each session is designed from beginning to end to help unconnected people quickly get to know one another and, where needed, figure out who among them would make the best, most qualified leader.
In addition to the get-to-know-each-other ingredients, Connect + Grow does an excellent job of shaping the concept of authentic community and what makes a satisfying group.
If you're looking for a study that will connect unconnected people after Easter, you probably won't find a better study than Connect + Grow.
Transformed: How God Changes Us
Transformed: How God Changes Us is a 2013 study from Rick Warren. Anchored in the apostle Paul’s profound truth in Romans 12:2, this study explores what the Bible has to say about seven essential areas of our lives: Spiritual, Physical, Mental, Emotional, Relational, Financial, and Vocational.
If you’re looking for a study that will connect less frequent attenders,Transformed has a number of advantages. Rick Warren’s name is very recognizable and deals with a topic that is fairly cross-cultural (who doesn’t wish they could change something about themselves?).
You can read my full review right here.
Starting Over: Your Life Beyond Regrets
Starting Over was developed as a result of many conversations the Ferguson's had with people who had read Finding Your Way Back to God: Five Awakenings to Your New Life. The authors made a curious discovery. If you're familiar with Find Your Way Back, you may remember that the second awakening was awakening to regret. Their discovery? "Many of the people we talked to experienced the Awakening to Regret but then got stuck there." Starting Over was developed to help people "come face to face with your regrets and learn to start over."
Like Finding Your Way Back to God, the study (and accompanying videos) are very engaging. Packed with personal stories and skillfully told stories from the Bible, this is the kind of study that make it easy to invite friends, neighbors, co-workers and family.
A 5 session study, Starting Over is well-written and very easy to use. Although some participants may be anxious about joining a discussion on this topic, most will be quickly made at ease by the tone set in the opening questions. Each session of the study includes an opening icebreaker and questions that will consistently welcome everyone to the conversation. The Bible study portion of the study does a very good job of exploring a series of stories, Psalms, and passages on regret. A life application section will help participants make the story personal.
The participant guide also includes an extensive leader guide that will enable even the most inexperienced leader to feel better equipped to lead.
I have to tell you, I believe Starting Over: Your Life Beyond Regrets may have even greater potential than Finding Your Back to God. Why? I think regret is an even more cross-cultural topic. While everyone may not be overwhelmed by feelings of regret, everyone can personally relate. If you're looking for a compelling study that will appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike, take a look at Starting Over. I love this study and I think you will too!
Wonderlife: A Not So Perfect Guide to Who You Are and Why You're Here
Wonderlife: A Not So Perfect Guide to Who You Are and Why You’re Here is a 2016 resource from Mike Foster and the folks at SecondChance.org. The study is designed to take people on "an authentic journey through their not-so-perfect stories to find their sacred calling.” Based on the principles of Psalm 139, the small group workbook, DVD and weekend series can easily be used as a church-wide campaign.
Covering the kind of topic that makes an easy invite for friends, neighbors, co-workers and family, it is designed to generate a fairly personal discussion. At the same time, it comes at it from such an exploratory angle, it ends up being fun and engaging at the same time.
If you’re looking for a study that makes for a great outreach opportunity, take a look at Wonderlife: A Not So Perfect Guide to Who You Are and Why You’re Here. I think you’ll like what you find. I loved this study and I think you will too!
Divine Direction: 7 Decisions that Will Change Your Life
Divine Direction: 7 Decisions that Will Change Your Life is the latest “campaign” from Craig Groeschel and Life.Church. launched in early 2017 at Life.Church. Divine Direction has all the pieces you need to be considered a church-wide campaign (i.e., sermon outlines, small group discussion guide, promotional artwork, etc.). And to top it off, everything except the tradebook is available free on their open church site.
Designed to help participants learn how to seek God’s will for their lives and how He cares more about who they are than what they do, Divine Direction has real potential both for regular church attenders and their friends.
You can find out more about Divine Direction right here.
Click here to see My Top 5 Post-Easter Studies for New Groups (2020).