Just like the three servants in Jesus’ story in Matthew 25, all of us want to hear “well done.” Strictly speaking, all of us want to hear “well done” and two out of three do something about it!
Want to be part of the two out of three? When I coach staff teams on how to leverage the fall ministry season to launch a wave of small groups, I always talk about these things:
1. Start with the end in mind.
This is a really, really big point. In fact, I’ve begun saying “start with perfect and work backward.” When you’re looking ahead you should be envisioning all the elements you’d like to have in place. For example, think way beyond the number of groups you’d like to launch and include other aspects of what it will look like (i.e., a host orientation concept that equips new leaders, every new leader supported by a launch-phase coach, etc.).
2. Pull out a calendar and work backward
from the launch date to include all of the steps. For example, if you’re planning a church-wide campaign you should know the end of September or beginning of October is the best time to launch. Once you’ve plugged in your launch date you can work back from there, plugging in promotion, orientations, host recruitment, coach recruitment and series planning.
3. Choose a study that connects the people you hope to connect.
This is an extremely important step! We all understand that if you want to satisfy the taste buds of people who’re craving a savory, mouth-watering steak…you need to serve a steak! And if you want to entice people who love the spicy heat of a chile relleno…you need to serve Mexican food. In the same way, the exact same way, if you want to connect unconnected people, you need to choose a study that will interest them! Choose a topic that connects with your true customer.
4. Identify and recruit a team of launch-phase coaches.
One of the best early steps you can take is to make a list of some current small group leaders that could easily help a newbie get off to a great start…and invite them to help start a new group or two this fall! I explain exactly how to do right here. Almost nothing else has as much potential as connecting a new leader with an experienced veteran. Your new leaders feel supported and more confident. Veterans get to use their experience and might even get that sense of fulfillment that is so essential in a coach who commits to the long run.
5. Launch a get-to-know-your-neighbor initiative.
One of the most important early steps you can take is to give your members some ideas that will help them get to know their neighbors over the summer. If you want to connect way beyond the usual suspects, launching a series on a topic that unconnected people care about makes it easy to invite neighbors…provided your members know their neighbors! (see my Top 10 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors This Summer for more information)