What’s the best way for people to sign up and commit to a group?
It’s a frequently asked question. It’s a fair question. It’s almost always the wrong question.
How can it be the wrong question? Well…maybe it’s just the way it’s worded and the underlying meaning of the words, “sign up.” Here’s what I mean.
In most cases, taking sign-ups implies an opportunity for unconnected people to fill out a form and turn it in. There are three basic instances when a form is turned in:
Sign up to be placed in a group: It is almost always a bad idea to allow people to to turn in a form to be placed in a group. I know this isn’t a universally held opinion, but in my experience taking on a matchmaking role is almost always counterproductive. First of all, once the form is filled out motivation changes. Second, the follow up phone call frequently connects the matchmaker with the spouse who did not fill out the form.
Sign up to attend an event where they will have an opportunity to connect (i.e., a Saddleback style small group connection or a North Point style grouplink event). A much better option, the form serves the purpose of expressing commitment to attend the event. Upside: the event itself does the work of connection. Downside: only those who attend the event get connected.
Sign up to HOST a group: Different than signing up to join a group, this form is used to take commitments to host a group. Hosts are encouraged to fill their own group. Upside: this strategy connects the friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers of the host. Downside: requires a joining opportunity for those who aren’t invited. This can be done a variety of ways that avoid turning in a form promising placement (matchmaking):
- An online solution like ChurchTeams is both easy to employ and reasonable priced, allowing unconnected people to find a group without going through a middle man. In addition, an online solution allows an all-church email to be sent with a link to the small group finder.
- A printed list of groups can be made available at the small groups table in the lobby. The list of groups can be distributed. Alternatively, potential members can commit to an individual group by adding their name and information directly to the group roster (this is different than a form that implies matchmaking).
- A group fair allows potential members to sign up directly with group leaders. Each open group can host a table at the fair. Or as I describe in a related post, the hosts you’ve recruited could have a station where sign-ups could happen. See also, A Potentially Game-Changing Mashup We’ll Be Testing This September.
What’s the best way for people to sign up and commit to a group? As I mentioned earlier, I believe it is the wrong question. The right question? What’s the best way to connect the largest number of unconnected people? I begin answering that question right here. Be sure you’re signed up to get my updates. You can do that right here.)
What do you think? Got a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.