This Sunday, we will launch over 100 brand new groups at Cross Point. We know that the best way to get new people into community is always by starting new groups. That’s easy said, difficult to do. Here are 5 things that we have discovered to help us start multiple new groups at one time:
1. The vision is cast by the Senior Pastor.
I could have stood on stage last week and talked eloquently for 35 minutes on the benefits of small groups. I could have laid out an impelling vision for why every single person in our church should step up and lead a group so that we can provide community and make new disciples. And…we would have signed up a handful of new leaders as the result. Our senior pastor took 3 minutes at the beginning of the message to cast the vision and we had lines of people wanting to be involved. The senior pastor has to be the champion of groups.
2. Make the ask on multiple weeks.
The average church attender shows up about 1 out of every 3 Sundays. The casual attender is there about once a month. You have to make multiple asks to expect the best results. We made a push for new hosts and leaders for 3 straight Sundays. This was a combination of our senior pastor and campus pastors casting the vision.
3. Lower the entry bar to leadership.
When we launch a church-wide campaign, we open up opportunities for people to lead a group that would have never lead in the past. We provide all of the curriculum and training on dvd’s the day that they sign up – for free. Our hosts are encouraged to reach out to their circles of influence for group members, but we will also help them add members through our Connect Events. The key is making it as easy and obvious as possible. The majority of these groups will continue on after the 6 weeks of the campaign are over.
4. Launch groups at a strategic time.
It’s great to launch new groups at any time of the year, but there are natural seasons that will produce the best results. January is the best one. People are looking for a fresh start and need community to help them get going. It’s not a very hard sell to convince people to join groups at the beginning of the year. August is another prime time for us.
5. Make the campaign compelling.
It never hurts to have an exciting study to offer for groups. We are kicking off the year with Let Hope In, a 6 week study based on the book written by our Senior Pastor, Pete Wilson. I can’t imagine a better theme for a new year than hope! It definitely helps that the study is done by our pastor, but it doesn’t have to be. We have done off the shelf studies in the past and have been very successful. It just needs to be compelling and fit the church’s DNA.