The Strategy of Connecting People

By Steve Gladen

THINK ORGANIC NOT CENTRALIZE SUPPORT! What took the HOST concept to a new level in our Campaign Strategy was getting out of the match maker business. Instead of asking people to join a group, get people to ask a couple of their friends they already have to do the group with them. By putting the monkey on their back, you get 2 friends and start a group, it takes care of a number of issues. First, they are their friends, so the stick rate for the group is huge. They don’t mind meeting because they are their friends. Your group retention will rise! It also answers the frequency question, since they’re already friends, and likely they don’t care if they are meeting in summer, fall, winter or spring—they are meeting together anyhow, you are just giving them purpose! A third issue it helps you with is mobilizing non believers to start groups. Who are their friends? More non believers! Your best evangelist can be an open non believer! Now you need a process or pathway to move them along (chapter 12 in SGWP) so they don’t stay non believers!

TAKE SERMON GUIDEs VIDEO! I learned this idea from a small church in Florida. Since July of 1999 we have had volunteers attend our first service and write a small group discussion guide that small groups can use. We call it “Talk It Over”. We would have about 300 groups on average use this tool for a group curriculum. A number of months back we stepped it up to make it more user friendly for existing and new groups to use. Now we not only have volunteers write the guides as always, but now we have people design a video clip to go along with it. Over 1,200 groups are now using this tool. You can check it out at Imagine how simple for a person to start a group where all they need to do is attend the weekend service and watch the recap and discuss?

EMBRACE THE INTERNET! You want to connect people? Don’t see the internet as your enemy! Next month I am spending the whole article sharing our learnings and pathway on the Internet and Technology.

I hope these ideas and what we shared in SGWP helps your church connect 120% of the people in your congregation!

image credit: Flickr user ThomasAn

Steve Gladen

Steve Gladen is Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church, which sees over 30,000 people gathering weekly in 5,000 small groups. He's the founder of and travels widely to speak on the topic of small groups and healthy, biblical community. He is the author of several books including Small Groups With Purpose and Leading Small Groups With Purpose.