If you were to take a snapshot of my google searches over the last little while you would notice a common theme. ‘How to sew a zipper into a purse.’ I have been making some purses to give away as gifts and I wanted to know how to sew in a zipper. Interestingly, once I started making these little zipper purses my friends all started asking if I could teach them how to make one. I seized the opportunity and organised a zipper sewing session!
Sometimes it can be that simple to launch a new small group. Your friends ask you, you seize the opportunity and a new group is birthed! At other times, particularly if are looking after small group ministry in our church it is not that simple. We need a broad plan and within that plan we need to look for creative opportunities to launch new groups. Here are a few ideas you might find helpful.
#1. Church Wide Campaign
One of the best ways to launch new groups is by running a church-wide campaign. In conjunction with your senior pastor or teaching team, determine a preaching series and then connect your small group material to the series. Encourage people to sign up for a short-term group while the series runs. More often than not groups continue after the series has concluded. You can find out more about church wide campaigns and how to source leaders here and here.
#2. Next Step Groups
If your church is planning to run a specific course like Alpha, a parenting, prayer, biblical history course or any other teaching course then put in place a strategy which enables you to launch new groups after these courses conclude. Throughout the weeks of the course make sure you promote the ‘next step group’ idea. The people attending the course have already begun to develop relationships so there is a high chance that some may wish to continue as a group beyond their current experience. Promoting the ‘next step group’ as a short-term commitment of 6-8 weeks will also be attractive to those who are new to small groups in your church.
“Huddles” are created to gather small group point people to share ideas, resources & build relationships! 6 new Huddles were created in April: Southern Alabama, North Atlanta, Dallas City Center, West Michigan, Kansas City & Eastern/Central Kentucky! To join a Huddle or to start one, click here: smallgroupnetwork.com/huddles
#3. Significant Day Springboard
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be a great springboard to launch new small groups. Start one or more small groups for parents, or one for Dads and another for Mums. OR you could develop a strategy where you run a 4-week parenting course followed up by a ‘next step group’. We often put a lot of time and energy in making our Sunday celebration and worship services highlight these significant days so let’s use them as a springboard to launch new groups.
Easter is also another time in our church calendar which can used as a springboard to new groups. Choose material or write your own, which picks up either the pre- resurrection or post resurrection story and promote groups around these themes.
While we often see Christmas as a busy time and many groups choose not to meet during the holiday season, it is often an overlooked time to launch new groups. There are people in our congregations who find it a lonely and difficult time. Why not start a short-term group in the weeks prior to Christmas and help those people gain a sense of connection and belonging during this significant time?
I encourage you to seize these and other creative opportunities and add them to your ‘launching new groups’ tool box. I would also be very keen to hear from you about other ways you have launched new groups in your church!
Tracey Ware is the SGN Country Leader Australia