The most basic element of filling your small groups is the promotion month–the period when you are recruiting, inspiring, encouraging, teaching, preaching and using positive peer pressure to motivate your people to sign up for a group.
For example, don’t divert attention by talking about a capital campaign, a women’s night, or a couples’ retreat during this month. These worthy causes will take attention away from your most important initiative: getting people connected in small groups. I’ve discovered the hard way that if people have more than one sign-up choice on a Sunday (for example, the ability to sign up for a group or to sign up for a retreat), they won’t sign up for either. If you want your people in groups, then joining one should be the only decision in front of them during your promotion month. Avoid putting drag on your own system.
No doubt, it takes discipline to focus your attention exclusively on small group sign-ups for a full month. There will always be competing causes trying to find their way into the mix. Be intentional about choosing the great over the good. That couples’ retreat, while amazing, will be over in a weekend. But if a couple signs up for a small group instead, they will be involved in a life-changing environment for at least a semester, and probably for every semester thereafter. They may even go on to be group leaders, and then team leaders.
Ultimately, the small group system will give them a much better opportunity to become fully developing followers of Jesus and help them connect in more godly relationships than the weekend retreat will. While a retreat is good, this is great.
– Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas, with Jennifer Dykes Henson
The above excerpt is from pgs. 195-196 of Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups.
Drawing from the startling success of small groups at The Journey Church, Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas debunk the myths, set the record straight, and show how church leaders can implement a healthy small group ministry that gets the maximum number of people involved and solves many of the important problems facing churches of all sizes. These practical strategies will produce life-changing results.
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