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5 Ways to "Mix It Up" in Your Small Group Ministry

Twice a year, we have a major small group connection weekend at the Summit. Small group listings take over the worship guide, leaders are everywhere, and the main action step at of the service is plain and simple: go get into a group. These weekends play a huge role in our connection strategy, but this is not our only means of connecting people to small groups. In fact, this truthfully is not even our most successful connection avenue. Maybe this is my business background coming out, but we’ve built multiple avenues into our small groups that each serve a different purpose and will sometimes reach different audiences. Think: “Marketing Mix.” Below are our various avenues where people connect to groups. The Summit Mix:

  • GroupLink: Large on-campus event. High cost, high administration, very high visibility, low frequency (2x/yr). Key values: Major visibility among entire church, many connected at one time. The win here is a loud and clear statement from our leadership at all levels that small group is a must here at the Summit Church.
  • Web site: Low cost, high administration, medium visibility, high frequency. Key Values: Always on, meets people on their time, non-intimidating. The win here is a constant opportunity to learn about and connect to a group in a low-risk environment. It’s up to you to point, click, and request group info. Note: Some churches have gone away from this; I still like it for constant connection value.
  • Weekend Worship (Worship guide mention and on-campus kiosk with group experts): Medium cost, medium-high visibility, low administration, high frequency. Key values: Consistency, instant response opportunity, face time. The win here is an on-site, immediate response opportunity to learn more about group life in an anonymous way (worship guide tear out card) or in person (kiosk). Also a great place to connect informally with group leaders on the weekend.
  • Starting Point (Monthly “learn more about Summit” course): Low cost, medium visibility, low admin, medium frequency. Key values: Connects the very-interested, presents clear expectations of group life. Those who come to starting point are looking to connect, so it isn’t important to sell them hard on group life. It’s important to explain what it is. Usually, this is one of our best connection points.
  • Word of Mouth: No cost, no admin, high frequency, low visibility. Key value: Nothing beats a personal invitation to your small group. Bottom line, personal invitation trumps all other connection avenues at our church. So we are making the most common phrase you hear at the Summit to be, “Are you in a small group?”

That’s it, I think. What about you? What are the ways you’ve tried connecting people that the rest of the small group world needs to hear about?

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spenceshelton@churchleaders.com'
Spence is the Small Groups Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Wonder what that involves? Too much to put here, but he loves it! You can read more from Spence on his blog.