"Connect 100 percent of your congregation into small groups."
Now that's a sales pitch.
Our church was stuck: A small number of our adults—only 30 percent—were involved in small groups. After seven long years of slugging it out the old fashioned way—raising up apprentices to birth new groups—we were headed nowhere. Only one leader started a new group. Connecting everyone in a group was my dream, but only a pipe dream.
Then, 10 months ago, I attended a conference for small group coaches. The speaker, Brett Eastman, shared a new idea: groups can multiply, without dividing, by recruiting overlooked people to be hosts. This is called the host model. I was intrigued because none of my leaders had been able to recruit apprentices in their groups.
At the workshop, Kent, a coach from a Las Vegas church, shared how they connected large numbers in their congregation in a relatively short period of time using the host model. Not only did they assimilate great numbers of their congregation into small groups, but they also reached their community through small group community. I thought, Maybe this really could work.
On the drive home, I thought about what my senior pastor was most passionate about. With the recent release of The Passion of The Christ, he was planning a new sermon series. I thought, Why not launch small groups based on The Passion? When we did, we went from 24 to 44 groups in one day! This was great progress for a congregation of 800 adults.
From the pulpit, my senior pastor invited all members of the congregation to host a group for a 6-week study. It took off from there. In our post-Easter campaign, we added 25+ new groups.
For our fall campaign, we started recruiting ...