Two Big Opportunities That Will Connect More People This Spring

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I’ve written more than once about the power of using special days (like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) to launch groups.  Looking at my archives for other examples alerted me to the fact that I didn’t update you fully on a key strategic innovation that I tripped across two years ago and confirmed last year.

The idea of promoting a connecting opportunity for women off of Mother’s Day and men off of Father’s Day isn’t new.  You can find out all about how to promote it and some of the steps in pulling it off well in the articles below.  The key innovation may seem trivial, but I can tell you it works big time.  Here’s what we discovered:

First of all, we’ve recognized that next to the fear of coming to church for the very first time, leaving the relatively safe anonymity of the auditorium and showing up in a stranger’s living room is right on its heels.  Clearly, it is the second greatest fear.  How can it be overcome?  Hold on campus midsize connecting events as steps that lead to the win of being connected.

Next, we concluded that it might be time to run an event that wasn’t overtly about connecting.  Instead…in 2010 we called it a book study and chose The Measure of a Man by Gene Getz for our first test.  You can read the specifics of how we did it right here.  A very successful test, we connected over 140 men in groups that began on-campus and migrated off campus over a period of 6 weeks.  9 of  the 14 groups were still meeting one year later.

Set for a second try, we promoted another book study for women in the summer of 2011.  Using Bad Girls of the Bible, we took sign-ups and prepaid orders for the book.  We designed it to have a 10 a.m. session and a 7 p.m. session.  Again, we did not have preselected leaders.  Our plan was to simply sort the women out into groups by geography and have them discuss the questions at the end of each chapter.  Amazingly, we had over 200 women attend the book study.  On the first night we learned that the evening group of over 130 women included less than ten who were connected to another group of any kind.  That is a huge learning!  Do not miss that.  These groups also began on campus and migrated off over a period of 5 or 6 weeks.  Months later, many of them were choosing follow up material and still meeting.

Here are four additional articles on this subject

How to Use Special Days to Launch Groups (6/08)

Taking Advantage of Special Days to Launch Groups (4/10)

The Results Are In…Women’s Connection Recap (5/10)

File This Under Connection Ideas (7/10)

Want do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Scott Cornell on February 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Hi Mark,
    I really like this article and I’m suggesting to our church that we do a short term book study this summer. It’s not a small group or Bible study, but, book study.

    1. To attract more non-connected people within or outside our church to connect.
    2. Use this as a mechanism to help people feel comfortable and connect them to our small groups.

    I was one of the people you described in your article. I didn’t want to join a Bible study with a bunch of holier than thou, Jesus freaks. Now I participate in one group and lead another.

    What do you think of this approach? Is this a good approach or do you recommend something else? Second, do you have book recommendations for this type of study that are easy to read, yet thought provoking?

  2. markchowell on February 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Hi Scott! Thanks for jumping in! We loved the impact of Measure of a Man and Bad Girls of the Bible. Both were great examples of easy to read and thought-provoking. And…both had built in questions at the end of each chapter. I think there would be a number of other great options. The key is to keep in mind the things I wrote about yesterday in Three Keys to Connecting Beyond the Core and Committed.