How We Got to 80% – part 1

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A few months before my 40th birthday, I made the decision that I did not want to be the fat, balding, middle aged guy that drives the cargo van with no windows. I knew that I could only control two of those, so I went to work right away on the first one and bought a Harley (logical) to take care of the last.

I found that the most frustrating part of getting in shape is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Big changes take time and patience before the goal is finally realized. It took several months of sweat and eating tasteless food before I could give up my elastic waisted pants.

We faced a similar, daunting goal with our community groups here at Cross Point. Because we believe strongly that discipleship and life-change takes place best in the context of community, our Pastor’s goal from the beginning of the church has been for at least 80% of our adults be connected in a community group.

When I first came on staff 3 years ago, we did a very un-scientific survey and found that only 35% of our adults were currently involved in a group. That was a huge wakeup call for us. We then got to work and spent the next 3 years putting a lot of sweat and thought into making that 80% a reality.

It felt at times like a BHIG (Big Hairy Impossible Goal), but when we did our mid-semester check-in last month, we discovered that 82.2% of our adult attenders were now active in a community group. We understand that BOC (butts on couches) is not the only or best barometer of a healthy church, but it starts there for us.

What I would like to do over the next few posts is share a few things that we did to help move the line up and to the right. We are in no way the experts or have it all figured out, but a few key ideas helped get us where we are today.

The first and most important piece of the puzzle is that our Senior Pastor is the champion for groups. He lives and breathes community, and continues to put it in front of our church whenever he can. Without his support, we would always be a church with groups and not a church of groups. I am so thankful for a leader that constantly challenges us to think of new ways for people to be connected in community. He understands that the Church has to be more than a 1 hour experience on Sunday. The Gospel is lived out Monday-Saturday in neighborhoods and homes around our city.

Next: On and Off ramps

 

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About the author

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with over twenty-three years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also the Discipleship and Small Group Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. Chris’s first book, Small Groups For The Rest Of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes, was just released by Thomas Nelson.