- The first very important discovery for small group pastors is that there are no problem-free small group systems or models. A breakthrough happens when leaders learn that every system comes with a set of problems and wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have. See also, Breaking: No Problem-Free System, Model or Strategy.
- A second very important discovery for small group pastors is the realization that starting new groups is more productive than adding members to existing groups. While this is counterintuitive for some, there is no doubt that launching new groups is the best way to grow the number of groups and the number of people connected. Far better to train your small group leaders to fill their own group and focus your efforts on launching new groups. See also, Critical Decision: Add Members to Existing Groups vs Start New Groups and Skill Training: Top 10 Ways to Find New Group Members.
- Finally, a third very important discovery for small group pastors is that starting a wave of new groups (as opposed to one at a time) is a key to the momentum needed to build a thriving small group ministry. This is the difference between incremental growth and exponential growth. Unless your church is nearly 100% connected in groups or experiencing a decline in attendance, incremental growth in new groups will not get the job done. See also, How to Build an Exponential Small Group System.
These three important discoveries should lead you to wonder, “What’s the best way to launch a wave of new groups?”
Here are the top 3 ways to launch a wave of new groups:
- Launch a church-wide campaign. In most cases, the very best way to launch a wave of new groups is with a church-wide campaign using the HOST strategy. This strategy leverages the external connections of hosts and with the right campaign can provide an amazing link into the community. See also,The Exponential Power of a Church-Wide Campaign, Saddleback Changed the Game…Again, and 10 Simple Steps to a Great Church-Wide Campaign.
- Hold a Small Group Connection. The key to this strategy is that it connects the people who come to the event and doesn’t require “pre-qualified leaders” going into the event.” See also, How to Launch Groups Using a Small Group Connection.
- Plan and launch GroupLink. This is an excellent strategy. If you are a fast growing church and late to the game, it will not catch a moving train. But…if you’re looking for a plug-and-play concept that will work in season and out…you’ve got to consider this one. See also, North Point’s Small Group System.
There are a number of other very good strategies that do a good job of connecting unconnected people. The big idea of these three strategies is that they launch waves of new groups. Other strategies primarily focus on adding members to existing groups and a new group here and there (such as the sermon-based strategy or the free market strategy). See also, Top 10 Ways to Launch New Groups.