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Top 10 Things To Do This Summer To Maximize Your Fall

Churches that are praying for and expecting a high-impact fall ministry season do more than take a break in the summer. They do take a break…but they also realize that summer is an essential time to do some simple but very important things that make a huge difference in September.

Here are my top 10 ideas:

  1. Deepen your relationships. This is a great time to catch coffee, breakfast or lunch with your coaches. The agenda can just be “how ya doin’? It will pay off in the fall when you’re asking your coaches to work a little harder than the rest of the team.
  2. Build your coaching team. Think about which of your hosts might be misappropriating their SHAPE by caring for 8 to 10 adults instead of 4 to 6 leaders (who each care for 8 to 10 adults). You probably have at least one or two that fit that category. This is an opportunity to help them move to the right seat on the bus.
  3. Plan and shoot the videos you’ll need in August and September. This is a great time to capture the video (or line up the testimonies) that will enable you to recruit new small group hosts in August and encourage unconnected people to test-drive a group in September.
  4. Fine tune the time-line for your fall strategy. You can think about things like the dates that your host insert will be in the bulletin, when you’ll start talking about being “in a group” vs. hosting a group, how you’ll promote each of those steps, ways of marketing the campaign you’ll be launching, when you’ll introduce the next curriculum, etc.
  5. Figure out what study you’re going to recommend after your church-wide campaign. There are few things more important than introducing the right next study for your new groups to use right after the campaign. Remember that a key is to choose a next curriculum that is very similar in kind to what you’ve just used (i.e., DVD-driven, easy to use, application oriented, etc.). My article, “What’s Next? When (and How) To Promote the Next Curriculum” will help you see how to do it.
  6. Encourage your existing small groups to take a “small group vacation” this fall. This is a very strategic move that can pay off big time but you’ll need the big guns and some preparation to pull it off. See my article for more.
  7. Clean up the data in your small group database. Whether you’re using a small group finder technology like ChurchTeams or simply posting a static list of groups on your web page, summer is a key time to work through the information, clean it up and make any necessary corrections.
  8. Consider adding a blog for your small group ministry. You can use my article on “How To Get Started Using a Blog To Resource Leaders” as a reference and get it in place over the summer. Actually, summer is a great time to begin implementing a whole list of technology ideas that enhance grouplife. You can take a look at my best ideas right here.
  9. Plan a few “get to know your neighbor” activities and encourage everyone to join in. I wrote an article on “The Top 10 Ways To Get To Know Your Neighbors This Summer.” It’s required reading if you really want to impact your community this fall.
  10. Start now praying for the fall ministry season! This is number 10 on my list but it is #1 in importance. Get your small group leaders and coaches in this game. Now’s the time to ask some of the prayer warriors in your ministry to jump in and organize a regular and systematic approach to praying for the fall.

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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.