Yesterday I kicked off this series by suggesting that of all the ways to launch small groups, nothing compares to the power and potential of a well chosen, strategically timed and skillfully implemented church-wide campaign.
Are there other effective methods? Absolutely. Do they pack as big of a punch? No. Definitely...no. But I need to qualify that answer. Nothing compares to the power and potential of a church-wide campaign that is well chosen (we talked about that yesterday), strategically timed (we'll talk about that today) and skillfully implemented. As I've written in the past, missing the strategic window of optimum launch dates is one of the top 10 reasons that church-wide campaigns miss the mark.
Tell Me About Strategic Timing?
Ever heard that "timing is everything?" Well...it is. Pulling off a church-wide campaign takes a lot of energy. In other words, it's not an afterthought. It will take commitment, planning, and hard work. And whenever you give something a lot of energy, you want to reap where you've sown. Here are several important factors:
- Late September/early October is the very best time for three reasons: (1) You can use August to recruit hosts and early September to train them, (2) When you start a new group in the early fall, your new groups can meet at least 6 times before Thanksgiving and maybe still meet another time or two before they break for the holidays. Very big. (3) In many communities, fall is the biggest time of the year for new residents to check out a church. It's also a time when folks returning from summer vacations to reengage in the rhythms of school and work...but be open to change.
- Late January/Early February is another good time for a campaign. (1) Life's natural rhythms and the desire to "turn over a new leaf" in January often inspire a willingness to take a spiritual next step, (2) With close to 5 months before summer, there's plenty of time to establish a real sense of connection, (3) While there isn't as good of a window to recruit hosts (December usually has its own commitments), a small group connection can provide a very good alternative and doesn't require such a lengthy ramp-up.
- Post Easter is a third option. Although summer vacation is just around the corner, it presents a different set of upsides: (1) A well chosen topic can sometimes attract attendees from the crowd (Easter and Christmas Eve, 1 to 6 times a year), (2) A 4 to 6 week test-drive might be just the thing to help some of your attendees to finally take that baby-step.
These are the three best times/seasons to launch a church-wide campaign. That doesn't mean it's the only time that will work. It's just the most likely. Again, planning and implementing a church-wide campaign is an energy-intensive effort. When you spend this kind of energy, you'd like to sustain as many groups as you can.
Tomorrow I'll be talking about skillful implementation. If you're not signed up for my updates, you can do that right here.
What do you think? Make sense? Want to argue? Got a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.