For the growth of any groups ministry, the 3 S’s are necessary: surfacing on-ramps, sticking tactics, and staying power. Surfacing – How are you surfacing potential group members to become a part of your group; Sticking – What is it in that first or second encounter with a potential group member that causes them to visit and “stick” in your group; Staying – What causes potential group members to stay for the long haul?
Here’s what you can do to increase the surfacing, sticking, and staying capacity of your group:
- Surfacing – Personal Invitation; Mike said Sunday that of the 1.8 million in the greater Nashville area, 1.35 million of them are not connected to any church. A 2016 LifeWay study revealed that only a third of unchurched are likely to come to a church service if invited. While both of these facts are true and can be overwhelming, we encourage you to think about invitation this way: invite people into your life. And what is it that you do? You go to group. So, if you invite people into your life to become a part of who you are, then you will naturally invite them into your group. And the personal invitation into one’s life and community is a relational outreach that is more significant than an invitation to an institution. As the old saying goes: if someone finds Christ in you outside of the church, chances are they’ll find their way with you into the church.
- Sticking – Coffee Person; we’ve discerned within our own community that stickiness in groups increases 100% if the potential member is met outside of group first, giving them time to establish personal relationship. We suggest meeting someone for coffee before you invite them to attend your group meeting so that when they walk into group, they will already have a relational connection. Begin praying and asking people in your group to become The Coffee Person.
- Staying – Service; people are much more likely to stay with a group for the long haul if there is “greater” purpose to be found within the community. One way to foster “greater” purpose is to share the load of leadership of the group, e.g. empower others to teach, greet, prepare food, pray. Another way to develop “greater” purpose for your group is through local and global missions. Partner with a local mission like Reboot or the Brentwood Campus Mental Health Initiative to serve together as a community. We dream of the day when we see every group represented on global mission, e.g. funding a group member to take a mission trip. Share the load of group.
We’re passionate about reaching our neighbors and nations with the Gospel, and we believe the most effective, catalytic way to do that is through small group community. Champion the cause of personal invitation, commissioning a coffee person, and sending a missionary in 2019.