Warning: Do not miss this important concept. The topic you choose for your church-wide campaign absolutely determines nearly everything:
- The topic determines who will say yes to joining a group
- The topic determines who will say yes to leading or hosting a group
Here's what I mean:
First, the topic you choose for your church-wide campaign has everything to do with who will even be interested!
- If you choose a campaign that focuses on a spiritually challenging topic (discipleship, evangelism, etc.), you should not be surprised when the majority of those who connect to a group are from the core, committed and inside edge of your congregation (to use the Saddleback concentric circles concept). See also, Connecting the Gap Between Community and Congregation.
- On the flip side, if you choose a topic that focuses on a more crowd-friendly topic (pressures of life, relationships, purpose, etc.), you can expect to connect the outer edge of the congregation and the crowd. With the right topic, you may even see connection into the community (those who have never been to your church). See also, 5 Cross-Cultural Church-Wide Campaigns That Ought To Be On Your Radar
Who you are able to connect is directly related to the topic. There's an upside and a downside to both outcomes. Which group you'd like to connect ought to determine the topic you choose.
Pay attention to this: We determine what we'd like to accomplish first and then choose the topic that will connect the people we want to connect. For example, when we decided we needed to strengthen the core, committed and congregation, we chose Transformed: How God Changes Us (and it turned out to appeal as well to neighbors and friends). When we wanted to bolster the invest and invite value, we chose Finding Your Way Back to God (and it turned out that our core, committed and congregation needed a previous step, something like The Art of Neighboring).
You will not always choose the perfect topic. Understanding the significance of the topic will improve your chances.
Successful marketers are not wishful thinkers. They've learned to appeal to the customer's innate desires, appetites and interests. Choose who you hope to connect and then choose a topic to which they will respond. Click To Tweet
Second, the topic you choose for your church-wide campaign also determines who will say yes to leading or hosting a group.
- If you choose a campaign that focuses on a spiritually challenging topic, don't miss the fact that potential leaders will size up the challenge of inviting neighbors, friends, co-workers and family and decide not to sign up to host a group. See also, The Easy-Hard Continuum.
- On the flip side, if you choose a campaign that focuses on a more crowd-friendly topic you can expect a different outcome. When considering whether to invite neighbors, friends, co-workers and family, the right topic makes the invite easier.
The topic you choose for your church-wide campaign determines who will say yes to leading. This is not to say you should never choose a more challenging topic. Let who you hope to connect determine your topic. Then understand that the topic determines who will say yes to joining or leading a group. See also, HOST: What Does It Mean?
- Choose the topic for your church-wide campaign based on the needs of your church. If you need to train your congregation as evangelists, choose a study that provides that training. If you want to connect neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family, choose a topic they will be interested in.
- Don't be taken in by wishful thinking. If you can't imagine inviting your neighbor or your friend, there's a pretty good chance that the topic isn't the right topic.
- Be wise in terms of the calendar and when you schedule an outwardly focused campaign versus an inwardly focused campaign. Certain seasons just lend themselves to outreach (late September and early October). Other seasons are much better for evangelism and discipleship efforts (leading up to Easter).
How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign is one of my most popular mini-courses. If you're preparing for a campaign, it is must-see tv!