By Michael C. Mack
There are several key seasons for launching new small groups or classes, says Mark Howell, pastor of communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, and founder of SmallGroupResources.net. The end of September/beginning of October is a great time to help new arrivals connect through new groups. The end of January/first part of February is a great time to help New Year’s resolution and “turn-over-a-new-leaf” people take a spiritual next step. Right after Easter is another good time to run a small group connection or launch new groups.
1. Schedule a small group connection two weeks after Mother’s Day.
2. Order curriculum that will appeal to women or couples. The curriculum you choose determines the way you pitch the connection.
3. Develop a sign-up form or insert to be used on Mother’s Day.
4. Have the preaching minister refer to the connection in the sermon on Mother’s Day: “Ladies, there are few things more important than developing relationships with other women who are growing closer to Christ.” Howell has written a detailed article on how to make this invitation; go to www.markhowelllive.com/how-to-make-the-small-group-ask.
5. Include the insert a second time the week after Mother’s Day and have your minister refer to it again.
6. Include a blurb in the bulletin on the day of the connection, and refer to it in the announcements: “Whether you signed up for the connection or not, we want to invite you to take this important step in getting connected.”
7. Run the connection! This is a very simple process. Choosing the right curriculum might be the most important piece. A six-week study that appeals to a strong felt need goes a long way to help people take a baby step and get connected. From there, who knows! At least you’re helping a few people take an important next step.
—Mark Howell, www.markhowelllive.com