10 Simple Steps to a Great Church-Wide Campaign

Preparing to launch a church-wide campaign?  Or maybe wondering if you can still pull it off with the time you have remaining?  While not easy…it might be simpler than you think. You’ll need to make some strategic decisions, and depending on when you’re reading this, you may need to act decisively, but you can do it.

Ready to get started?  

1. Choose the best start date for the message series.  

I’ve found that there are two good options and one great option. In my opinion, the very best time to launch is mid-September to early October.  Many churches mistakenly use the date school’s back in as an indication of when to start the campaign.  Don’t be fooled.  If you want to connect people you’ve not yet connected, you need to wait until after Labor Day (see #3 for more on the calendar).

2. Pick an off-the-shelf campaign that is plug-and-play.  

There are many great campaigns and plenty of them have sermon outlines, PowerPoint slides, artwork, and marketing suggestions that are downloadable or included on a resource CD.  Many are also readily available in the quantity you need and at very good prices. 

3. Schedule a HOST recruiting message series.  

Pencil in a message series 7-to-9 weeks prior to the launch date that will allow 3 weeks to recruit HOSTs.  There are a wide range of topics for this series that will work.  Two important keys to know: the best recruiter is your senior pastor, and the best time to recruit is during a message.  Compromise on either key and your recruiting potential will be greatly reduced.  

4. Big Idea #1: Make it even easier to host another couple or a few friends.  

On the heels of the 3 main weeks of HOST recruiting, add another wave by providing a “grab-and-go” pack that even a caveman could use with a few friends or even family members.  

5. Do NOT mention joining a group during the three HOST recruiting messages.  

This may seem counterintuitive, but as soon as you begin talking about being in a group (as opposed to hosting a group) you’ve recruited your last host (see #9 for when to begin recruiting members).

6. Schedule two to four identical HOST orientation options.  

The best sequence is to begin offering orientations 1 or 2 weeks after you begin recruiting.  You need to schedule multiple options for the same reason that you need to make the HOST ask several weeks in a row.  People don’t necessarily attend every week.  In addition, a 1 to 2 week lag allows you to send a letter or e-mail with next steps and other expectations.  You might even be able to assign them a coach on the front end!  Need more?  

7. Recruit a set of launch-phase coaches that can help your new HOSTs get off to a great start.  

Ideally, launch-phase coaches can handle 5 to 10 HOSTs each (with a 1 to 2 hour a week commitment for the 8 to 10 weeks of the campaign).  Need more? 

8. Add an online small group finder to make it easy for unconnected people to connect with your newest groups.  

You may not have a small group finder now, but it’s not hard to add one to your Web site.  My friends at ChurchTeams.com can help you take your first steps.  Find out how right here.

9. Schedule full-on efforts to challenge everyone to be part of a group the two weekends before the launch.  

You’ll find a lot about this idea in 5 Keys to Getting Everyone Involved in a Church-Wide Campaign.

10. Choose a study to do next that is similar in kind to the first study.  

If you recruit on the strength of “easy to use” and “just add water,” you’ll need to help your newest HOSTs choose a study that they have the skills to do.  Choosing the right follow-up study and beginning to promote it publicly in about week 3 or 4 of your launching series makes it even easier to sustain a high percentage of the groups you launch!  You’ll find a lot more on this topic in 5 Keys to Sustaining New Groups.

What do you think?  

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Mark Howell
Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.