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How to Take Full Advantage of an Early Easter to Launch New Groups

In case you missed it, Easter 2016 is March 27! Just about the earliest Easter can occur.

This is big news for all of us, because an early Easter offers an extra really good opportunity to connect unconnected people in groups.

Ordinarily, Easter happens a little too close to summer to allow new groups to meet enough times to firmly establish before the inevitable interruption brought on by vacations, sports leagues, summer camps, etc. Just when you get a new group going … they decide to take the summer off. And that’s all she wrote!

But, when Easter is early, the right strategies well executed will yield some new groups that have two full months and maybe part of a third before they start running into summer issues. And that’s enough time for them to be connected well enough to survive the summer.

Here are three strategies that will launch new groups:

1. Schedule a small group connection in early April. If you begin promoting the small group connection on Palm Sunday, you can collect sign-ups on 3/20, 3/27 and 4/3 and then hold it on 4/10. Choose a great starter study and then help them continue by pre-selecting a follow-up study and providing them a strategy for surviving the summer.

2. Launch gender or life-stage specific on-campus studies (that lead to off-campus studies) the week of April 10. For example, scheduling a study like Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage will attract unconnected couples. Facilitated around tables, it will allow attendees to experience the benefits of a group with the safety of an on-campus first step. Providing them a natural follow-up study to be done off-campus will encourage many groups to continue.

3. Launch a church-wide campaign that begins the week after Easter. The right series will provide an excellent comeback incentive for unconnected people. Making it easy for unconnected people to join a new group or even invite a couple of friends to join them in doing the study will give many the first step into community they need.

The key is to steward well this opportunity to launch new groups and connect unconnected people. We don’t get this chance every year. It’s a gift, and the right strategy will connect people we would miss otherwise.  

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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.