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Church Small Groups and New Visitors

Church Small Groups and New Visitors

I’m reminded of a blog entry by Seth Godin where he talks about two different organizational models. He discusses for-profit industries, but the organizational concepts are the same for any organization. One model is easy and straightforward where you get paid for your creation or service. The other model, which Seth goes into more detail, discusses organizations that attempt insanely difficult missions. When these organizations succeed, they’re the organizations people look to as the true leaders in their respective areas; like Dave Ramsey, Rick Toone, Henry Ford, and Rollin Thurlow. He ends his blog entry with this question:

How do we do something so difficult that others can’t imagine doing it’?

All organizations and their processes can take two paths — the easy or hard path. Let’s elaborate on these two paths:

Easy Path – the easy path is the one that is often mimicked, mass-produced, or copied by others very quickly and little changes. The organization implements a process from another organization — like visitor assimilation. This path is incredibly competitive as other organizations are doing the same thing and nothing is unique. When organizations try to copy a way of doing things, then the pool of potential people gets smaller. Why? Because each organization is going after the same pool of people, using the same method. Additionally, no single process can capture every person where complex human relationships are concerned. Why is this important? Because most churches fall into a trap of mimicking what another church is doing, in faith, that people will just start coming to them in [droves]. Rarely does this happen — if ever.

Hard Path – the hard path is where organizations focus on the organization’s uniqueness and how it can best form new relationships with people — either new visitors or long-time attendees. It uses its strengths to its advantage to build stronger relations with the people already in small groups or participating in other areas of the church family. Building relationships with people that are coming to church is definitely a longer, slower and more involved path when human relationships are involved. While this method may take more time, it pays off in huge dividends when educating people within your organization. Why? When relationships are formed and kept, then information about your organization spreads via word of mouth. When more people spread the word about the unique strengths of the organization, the pool of people becomes larger. People, from all walks of life, learn about your organization and want to be part of its mission, whatever that may be — discipling new people, missionaries, local community volunteerism, and much more.

Is your church going down the hard path by doing something so incredibly difficult, like building long-lasting relationships, that others wouldn’t even dream of trying? Or are they trying to use some replicated process in hopes that they grow larger — the easy path?

When it comes to building relationships, every church should develop their own processes, as no one knows better how to reach people in your neighborhood better than you. Software should facilitate different follow-up processes for visitation, small groups, staying connected, human relationships, and assimilation. Church management software, like IconCMO, gives you more than one way to have people flow through your organization instead of one process to use like the church down the road.

– From Icon Systems