To Incubate: (Webster) — 1: to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the body; also: to maintain (as an embryo or a chemically active system) under conditions favorable for hatching, development, or reaction 2: to cause (as an idea) to develop.
Now I know some of us sometimes feel like we are a mother hen with our small group leaders but this article is not about sitting on a nest. We are referring to definition #2: to cause (as an idea) to develop. Our idea? Small Groups.
An ongoing challenge for any growing church is not sitting on the nest, but hatching new groups and assimilating all of the new people into those groups. Many people who are seeking spirituality or a church usually check out the worship experience before they do anything. Likewise, we are not seeing a large percentage of people coming to our churches "through" our small groups either. So if worship is the common front door, how can we capture them? ANSWER: On-campus Connection Groups. This is one of the most effective ways I have found to get people into small groups quicker than the normal methods. I call them "Connection Groups."
What is it?
A Connection Group is a group of 15 or more people led by a Master Facilitator who meet initially to "try out" community. The midsize group is divided up into subgroups of 6-8 people who are led by subgroup facilitators. These facilitators have been planted there on purpose. If the process goes well, they are potentially the future group leaders for that sub-group. That sub-group incubates with that leader for anywhere from 6 to 52 weeks before it leaves the larger nest to become it's own self-supporting group.
How is it done?
There are many different ways to do it. I would encourage you to look at how Saddleback ...