Step Two: Embolden Your Groups
Once your personal paradigm shifts, you are in a better position to embolden your groups by crafting and casting a compelling vision. I love the God’s Word translation of Proverbs 29:18: “Without prophetic vision people run wild, but blessed are those who follow [God’s] teachings.” One of the reasons people tend to “run wild” during the summer and neglect small groups is because they have not been introduced to a powerful vision.
Define the Vision
Begin by praying about it. Ask Christ to open your mind and heart to his paradigms. Ask him what he wants to do through your group missions. Then consider the thoughts you wrote down previously. Based on your prayer and your thoughts to the earlier questions, what is God calling your church to accomplish through small groups being on mission?
Lead the Vision
Think about people in your congregation who are the most receptive to leadership. Consider those who are already early adopters of your church’s new undertakings. List those people and talk to them about the vision. You don’t need to have the answer to every detail for these soldiers because they are always on the front lines, asking, “What’s next Sergeant Major?” Ask them to try group missions and see what happens, explaining your interest in sharing their experiences with the rest of the church so others will want to get involved. If you plan a couple of months in advance, you’ll find the passionate stories of these “beta testers” will inspire and ignite many more people in the congregation to action.
Broadcast the Vision
Once you’ve clearly articulated the vision, blast it out into the life and culture of your church. Remember the tried and true “Marketing Rule of 7.” Typically, people don’t really subscribe to a message until they’ve heard, seen, or read it seven times. So broadcast this vision in every avenue possible. Leverage the use of live events, emails, postcards, and letters (yes, even snail mail). Talk about it on video, during church announcements, and on social media. Make posters and flyers, hanging them on the main entrance doors, in each bathroom stall, and near the auditorium entryway. Project it onto the video screen, print it in the bulletin, and plaster it on t-shirts. Use a slogan because they’re memorable. Pastor Andy Stanley once said, “Ideas need to be memorable, because memorable is portable.” Portable meaning viral, or rapidly circulated. People remember it, and are more likely to talk about it. The more they talk about it, the more viral it becomes. You need to have the tenacity to say, “No one in our church is going to miss this vision. No, not one!”
Sell the Vision
People must buy into the vision on both a spiritual and an emotional level. As a leader, you must answer the question “why?” in as many ways as possible. Why would groups want to do something missional this summer? Why is this vision necessary for the advancement of God’s Kingdom? Why should groups consider doing missional activities this summer rather than Bible studies or social gatherings? Why should the congregation follow you in this vision? When people buy into the “why,” they will be moved to action. If you share a vision and very few people get on board, it’s because your “why” wasn’t compelling enough. Try and try again, with new and more compelling “whys” until movement happens!