Last Sunday our church announced Small Group registration for the Spring, and my wife and I were excited in anticipation of getting back together with friends. Our campus of 400 attendees has about a 90% success rate of getting adults involved in a community group. How are they so successful? Well, here are a few observations that I’ve noticed as important factors in launching and maintaining a strong small groups program in your church.
If you haven’t already done it, your first push for small groups will be to locate and train leaders and hosts now and throughout the year.
- Recruit new hosts and leaders. Run a campaign at the church announcing and holding signups for new hosts and leaders. If your church also runs some sort of connection campaign with a spiritual gifts test, be sure to approach those gifted to lead in those areas. A recruitment campaign also lets your church know what’s coming a few months ahead of time.
- Train leaders and hosts via workshops or seminars. Equip them to listen, lead, and love on people in their small group. Teach them how to unite their small groups toward service and provide ideas for study guides.
- Mentor leaders and hosts throughout the year with special events and monthly meetings.
Small Group Campaign
Take a few weeks before your launch to ramp up your congregation, readying them for what lies ahead. Here are a few ways to promote your big day…
- Announce small group sign-ups in your bulletin, during announcement time, and from the pulpit.
- Show video promos for several weeks before your launch. Interview your pastor, small group participants, and leaders from the previous year and show footage of small group serving opportunities, activities, etc.
- Staff a table with information on small groups, sign ups, and studies for purchase.
- Leverage visual branding for small groups. A logo can be a great tool to organize your various pieces—banners, small group info guides, sign ups, videos, etc.
Topics like community, discipleship, and accountability can really tie in small groups the morning of your big launch and inspire people to action. Here are some sample sermons from the SermonCentral.com community:
- Small Groups: Our “Plan A” for Discipleship, by Pastor Don Jaques of Christ the King Community Church in Oak Harbor, Wash.
- Strength in Small Groups, by Pastor Brian Atwood of Pathway Church in Huntsville, Ala.
- Life Change Happens Best in Small Groups, by Pastor Eric Snyder of Farwell Church of Christ in Farwell, Mich.
Meet & Greet Event
On the morning of your launch (or even the week before), host a small group “meet & greet” to connect your church with small groups after service. Have the following on-hand…
- A small group guide that outlines each small group, complete with group leaders and hosts, group types, locations, study subjects, and any other pertinent details.
- Leaders and hosts from each small group. These folks should be easily identifiable with name badges.
- Study materials for each small group available for review and purchase.
Make it easy for people to sign up and become involved in a small group—no matter what time of year they jump in. Provide opportunities in person at church, on your church website, and by calling.
Small Group Articles from Outreach Magazine
- Small Group Resources http://www.outreachmagazine.com/resources/books-and-media/subjects/3487-Small-Groups.html
- Fix My Small Groups! http://www.outreachmagazine.com/features/3356-Fix-Small-Groups.html
- Fall Jump Start: http://www.outreachmagazine.com/ideas/fall/3551-Fall-Jump-Start.html
For more ideas, Outreach.com has many small group and church campaigns. Click here to see a catalog.
How does your church ramp up for small groups?