In my ministry with two state conventions (Arizona and Oklahoma) and in consulting with hundreds of churches, I have learned to that there is one essential diagnostic question that must be asked when talking with church leadership. When did the church last start a new group?
My experience has been that churches that are consistently starting new groups have the same issue as churches that have not started a new group in years. The issue is space. But a church that is starting new groups is looking for more space. Churches that are not starting new groups have empty space, and lots of it. The church’s response to when they last started a new group (and how many groups they started) is incredibly revealing about their strategy to be a Great Commission church.
Why are new groups so vital?
- Jesus started a new group to launch His earthly ministry;
- Jesus multiplied Himself through His small group;
- New groups need leaders and require the church to invest in leadership;
- New groups provide more opportunities for new people to join;
- New groups are more evangelistic;
- New groups provide more options for the church to make disciples;
- New groups bring change. If churches do not change, they will not survive.
The Great Commission says “make disciples.”
New groups = more disciples
The very first step in this fall’s START Campaign is “Start a New Group Day” on September 7 (or whatever date works best for your church calendar). I want to challenge you not to skip over New Group Sunday. Starting a new group or two provides space for new people and involves more people in leadership. I have several posts about how to start a new group ( Go here and here and here for a couple of examples).
Some essentials for starting a new group
- Set a date (obviously, for the START Campaign it is September 7). Setting a target date creates urgency.
- Pray (Luke 10:2). Pray for a leader and pray for people to join the new group.
- Evaluate what group of people could best support a new group. Perhaps you have a number of young adults that are attending worship but not Sunday School or small group.
- Enlist a leader that will “connect” with the target group. Enlist this leader personally. Enlist them passionately. Enlist them to succeed!
- Enlist members for the new group. Try to avoid stocking the membership list of the new group with inactives only. Enlist some people that are either attending another group or are regular attenders in worship and will verbally commit to help start the new group. NOTE: The target group in #3 above represents a broad, general group. The people here in #5 are specific individuals that the pastor or new group leaders talks with personally.
- Publicize the new group.
- Launch it!
There is a great resource available for 99 cents on Amazon called Be A Catalyst: Start New Groups. I encourage you to download it for more ideas about starting new groups.
So what is your commitment to start new groups on September 7? Leave your comments or commitment below in the comments section.