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5 Things to Do in June to Maximize Small Group Ministry This Fall

You can’t wait until the end of the summer to prepare for the fall ministry season. Have you figured this out yet?  Most likely you’re on to this fact of life…but even if you are, you might need an idea or two about how to prepare and what to focus on.  

Here are 5 things I believe must be done in June:

1. Meet with your senior pastor to clarify involvement and fine-tune where necessary. It really doesn’t matter what strategy you’re using this fall to launch new groups, you need your pastor in the game. Integrating the HOST ask into their sermon is essential. Leveraging their influence at a HOST gathering is a huge opportunity. Casting the vision for everyone to be involved in a group is something that only your pastor can do. June is the time to confirm and clarify involvement (before vacations and/or study breaks).  

2. Make sure your existing small group leaders are aware of the fall plans. “Why are we just hearing about this now!” ”We’re three weeks into a 12 week study and won’t be able to participate in the church-wide campaign.” All of us have heard these excuses for remaining on the sidelines. Sometimes they’re legitimate and sometimes they’re just excuses. Either way, making your existing group leaders aware of fall plans is not hard and will pay off. Tip: It’s a good idea to communicate in a way that requires a response and follow up to confirm.

3. Identify, recruit and begin training the coaches you’ll need for the new groups you hope to launch this fall. We have conclusively demonstrated that the addition of a coach dramatically increases the likelihood that a new small group survives. It is one of the two most important factors in sustaining new groups. It takes the right kind of person and June is the time to engage them.  

4. Identify and recruit the testimonies you’ll need to encourage potential leaders and members to say “yes” to a six-week test-drive. This is a secret weapon that is often overlooked. Take advantage of the tremendous power of personal story by finding HOSTs and group members who had life-changing experiences. Add this powerful element to the HOST Ask and maximize the response. Whether the testimonies are video or live the impact will be well worth the effort.  

5. Plan the communication and promotional pieces you will need for the fall launch. Whether your church has a dedicated “director of communications” or you are the de facto director (or anything in between), now is absolutely the time to plan and coordinate all of the pieces you will need this fall. That might include promotional copy for the website, e-newsletter and bulletin; inserts for HOST and member sign-ups; FAQs, invitations, and more. The earlier you can have this conversation and the further ahead you can get the better.

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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.