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Launch New Small Groups on Easter with This Simple Strategy

Need to connect people and launch new small groups? The short season following Easter is one of the three best times every year to launch new small groups and connect a certain kind of person.

When can you launch?

This year (2014), Easter is on April 20th, which means that you can launch some new groups and help them get off a to a good start before summer. If you work this strategy correctly, you can even help them begin a second six-week study as June begins! That’s a good thing.

Who can you connect?

If you make the right ask, the easiest group to connect are people who may have been infrequent attendees over the last few years. They’ve missed your fall campaign opportunities (late September/early October) to connect and even your first of the year opportunities (late January/early February). They will be in your Easter services, and if you work this correctly you have a good opportunity to grab some of them!

Here’s how it works:

1. Schedule a connecting opportunity 1 or 2 weeks after Easter. This should be at a convenient time and in a room that will comfortably seat the number of people you think you can attract around tables (I usually arrange two long tables side by side to form a square that will seat 12). It is important to provide childcare. Depending on when you schedule it, you may want to provide something simple for people to munch on.

2. Choose a study that will appeal to the kind of people you hope to connect. The kind of people we’re talking about will only respond to a study they think will be good for them.  

3. Decide how new leaders will be provided. Depending on your level of comfort, you can use a small group connection strategy and allow each new group to choose their own leaders. Or, you can recruit enough new leaders to make a six-week commitment and help the new groups get started.  

4. Begin promoting the connecting opportunity two weekends before Easter. Keeping in mind that unconnected people are infrequent attendees, it’s important to make the same invitation several weeks in a row. If you begin two weekends prior to Easter, you can give people 4 opportunities to sign up (2 prior, Easter, and 1 after).

5. Make it easy to sign up. Place an insert in your bulletin that easy to complete (name(s), phone number, email). Make the ask before the offering if possible. Have them put the insert in the offering plate as it comes by.  

This is a very simple idea. There are some moving parts, but it’s still very simple. Start today. Work at it over the next few weeks. You’ll be surprised how simple it really is!

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mark@smallgroupresources.net'
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.