Trying to get the word out about small groups in your church that are open to new members? I think there are some precautions that you need to think about as well as some steps you can take to make connecting easier.
Here are a few precautions you might want to keep in mind:
First, keep in mind that the larger your small group ministry is, the more difficult it becomes to serve as a match-maker. What does that mean? The more time you spend as a middle man, the less time you have to focus on the things that only you can do (recruiting and developing small group leaders, recruiting and developing coaches, working with you senior pastor, etc.)! See also, Matchmaking: Making it Easy to find a Group.
Second, the least connected people in your congregation are the least likely people to show up at a stranger’s living room. Never lose sight of that! You know those people that have told you how hard it was to come to your church for the first time? They are even more hesitant to find a group online or out of a catalog and show up. See also, Design Your Connection Strategy with Unconnected People in Mind.
Third, established small groups begin to form an almost impenetrable membrane at about 6 months. Prospective members (who are not extremely extroverted, almost brazen), will have a very difficult time breaking in. See also, Critical Decision: Add Members to Existing Groups vs Start Hew Groups.
Fourth, the best way to add new members to existing groups is to train members of existing groups to personally invite unconnected people to join. Skill Training: 10 Ways to Find New Members.
How to help your existing groups market themselves:
First, consider using an online small group finder like ChurchTeams. Making open groups available 24/7 without a middleman is an important step.
Second, consider hosting a small group fair. This can help provide an important face-to-face interaction between member and leader. See also, Distinctives of the Three Types of Small Group Connecting Events.
Third, one upside of the semester strategy is using a catalog to promote available small groups two or three times a year. See also, An Analysis of the Free-Market Small Group System and Semester Based Groups.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.