This week on the blog we are focusing on one of the most strategic choices that a church, a group, and an individual can make that will expand the Kingdom, reach people in the neighborhood, and also bring more members into leadership and service. The strategy is to start new groups. Each day this week, we will focus on a different way to start a new group.
Today’s focus is on starting a group from an existing group, or multiplying attendance through new groups. With this strategy, an existing group takes the intentional steps necessary to begin a new group from within the group. Several steps need to be taken before the new group is launched.
1. The leader of the existing group must decide that he or she is going to lead their group to start a new group. Until this initial decision is made by the group leader, other actions will only result in frustration. The current leader is the person whose direction the people in the group will follow.
2. A new leader must be discovered and enlisted. New groups need leaders, they are not going to lead themselves. The leader of the existing group must identify one or two potential group leaders and enlist them to start a new group.
3. Equip the new group leader(s). Here are some ideas that will help equip a new leader:
a) Bring the new leader to leadership meetings and training events;
b) Show the new leader how to prepare a Bible study;
c) Have the new leader lead one or two sections of the Bible study at group meetings;
d) Take the new leader on ministry visits; bring the leader with you when you make evangelistic visits, etc.
e) Have the new leader make ministry phone calls to members of the group;
f) Let the new leader teach or lead the entire group a few times.
As you can see, what the existing group leader is really doing is training an apprentice who will have the confidence to know that they can make it as a group leader. This is a much better strategy than handing someone a curriculum piece and a dozen names and encouraging them to “go get ’em”!!
Here are my preferred steps to the actual launch of the group:
1. Remember that this is not “Divide and Conquer”! We are going to let group members choose which group they will be a part of.
2. Set a launch date that is 4-6 weeks away. This helps build excitement about the new group.
3. The leader of the existing group needs to make the following announcement to the entire group. “You all know that on such and such date, we are starting a new group out of our class and Brother _____ is going to be the leader of the new group. If any of you want to leave to help him start the new group, please feel free to do so. You are not going to hurt my feelings, in fact; I will take it as a compliment that you are leaving to help start the new group.” A statement like this helps in several ways:
- First, people realize that you are not forcing them to leave or stay. We are treating everyone like an adult.
- Second, this approach virtually eliminates backbiting and gossip. The new start is transparent and is taking place out in the open.
- Finally, this approach assures the group that the existing group leader is fully supportive of starting a new group.
4. Have a celebration the Sunday before the new group starts. When a family brings a new child into the world, they celebrate! Celebrate the fact that your group is growing by starting another group.
One Final Thought
An issue with starting new groups with this method is that it is dependent upon the leader and the group’s willingness to start a group in the first place. Unfortunately, many… make that most… okay, virtually all of our adult groups and leaders are unwilling to start a new group. For most of these groups, they sincerely don’t mind the church starting a new group, but just not from their class!
Make sure to leave a comment! At the end of the day, we will have a drawing from the people who have left a comment. The winner will receive The New Matthew Henry Commentary!!