NorthPoint Increases GroupLife Participation by Adding an Easier Next Step

By Mark Howell

If you’re familiar at all with North Point’s small group strategy, you already know that their primary way of connecting adults into groups is an event called GroupLink*.  Offered more frequently in the past, GroupLink is now offered twice a year at two of the best times to connect people (August and January).

While all of this is fairly well known, you may not know about an interesting new addition to the North Point small group strategy.  Recognizing that they may be missing a segment of their adults who aren’t ready to make a 12 to 18 month commitment, they launched an easier next step called Access Groups.  At 7 to 8 weeks long, Access Groups are offered at strategic times in between GroupLinks (March, June, and October).

In addition to a much shorter commitment, Access Groups are offered on topics that have immediate appeal to adults (finances, marriage, dating, etc.).  Seven Questions That Rattle in the Mind of Most Men is a great example of an Access Group.  Seven Questions is a 7 week experience offered on-campus from 7:00 to 7:59 a.m.  Not a destination, the same content is repeated three times a year.  Upon completion, interested men are invited to continue meeting in an off-campus group that uses the same material to take the conversation deeper.

Although early, there is already evidence that a significant percentage of Access participants take the next step and attend GroupLink.

This is a great example of thinking steps, not programs.  Can you see how the addition of a shorter term, lower commitment option should increase the number of adults taking a next step from the auditorium to a midsize experience (and will ultimately help connect them into a group)?

What do you think?  Have a question?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

*You can learn quite a bit about the GroupLink strategy in Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits.  You can also learn more and order North Point’s GroupLink Starter Kit right here.

Mark Howell

Mark Howell is the founder of, committed to helping churches launch, build, and sustain healthy small group ministries. He's also the Pastor of Discipleship Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church.  Having served as small group pastor at Woodlands Church and Lake Avenue Church, Mark is a seasoned veteran with experience in both the contemporary and the traditional church. In addition, he served as a consultant with Lifetogether and as a host for the Purpose Driven Campaign Coaching programs. You can read Mark's blog at or follow him on twitter.