There are three ideal times to connect unconnected people every year. In most churches, late September/early October has the most potential followed by late January/early February.
A couple weeks after Easter presents a third very promising option to connect unconnected people. It’s not problem-free, but the reality is every season comes with its own set of problems. Even with the problems that come with launching new groups in late April/early May, it is still a very promising window of opportunity.
All that to say, here are three things you can do right now to connect more unconnected people after Easter.
Schedule a small group connection on April 30
Schedule a small group connection on April 30. If you begin promoting the small group connection on Palm Sunday, you can collect sign-ups on 4/9, 4/16 and 4/23, and then hold it on 4/30.
Holding the small group connection on the 30th allows your new groups to begin meeting and finish a six-week study in mid-June (a couple weeks later than ideal, but it is what it is).
Choose a starter study on a topic that matters to unconnected people (and ideally goes along with your message series, which has also been selected to draw back infrequent attenders).
Plan to help your new groups continue by pre-selecting a follow-up study and providing them a strategy for surviving the summer.
Need help putting on a small group connection? See also, How to Launch New Groups with a Small Group Connection—2016 and Here’s How I Lead a Small Group Connection.
Plan a set of short-term on-campus studies (that lead to off-campus studies) the week of April 30
Plan a set of short-term on-campus studies (that lead to off-campus studies) the week of April 30. For example, scheduling a study like Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage will attract unconnected couples. Examples of other study options might be Comparison Trap for women, Authentic Manhood for men, and The New Rules of Love, Sex and Dating for singles.
Facilitated around tables, this strategy allows 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.
One key is to choose study topics that appeal to unconnected people. Another key is to choose studies that are DVD-driven and naturally prompt (or provoke) a good discussion. DVD-driven (as opposed to something that involves live teaching) allows participants to easier imagine continuing to meet without the live teacher.
A final key to leveraging this strategy for all it’s worth is to be sure to segregate those already in a group from those who are not yet in a group. When you come to the end of the six weeks you don’t want anyone at any table offering the excuse, “I’d like to continue with you, but I’m already in a group.”
A good facilitator/emcee can get each session off to a good start, set up the DVD segment and then help discussion begin around the tables. Typically, de facto table leaders will emerge by the second session.
Plan to begin mentioning the possibility of continuing to meet after the six-week study concludes in about week four. A table displaying a well-chosen follow-up study with the DVD playing and sample study guides set out for examination before and after week five will further encourage many table groups to consider continuing to meet.
Plan a church-wide campaign that begins the week after Easter
Plan 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 friends to join them in doing the study will give many the first step into community they need.
Again, it is critical to choose a series that will actually appeal to unconnected people, but there are a number of very good options. See also, Top 5 Church-Wide Campaigns for 2017.
If you pull the trigger quickly, you can begin recruiting HOSTs before Easter and then recruit unconnected people to sign up for and attend a small group connection the Sunday after Easter.
This article originally appeared here.