1 Insanely Effective Way To Connect Singles At Your Church

 

One of the most insanely effective Saddleback Church programs for
connecting singles to small groups is House-to-House Gatherings. House-to-House Gatherings (aka H2H) is a fun
place where single adults of all ages come together for social connection and
to develop friendships. H2H is basically a house party with a light Bible study
component that has as its ultimate goal to move disconnected singles into a
healthy small group community
.

H2H occurs weekly
for six consecutive weeks on Friday nights. Three of these weeks are home gatherings
and three are activity gatherings that alternate each Friday. We launch with a
home gathering first, and then each individual house plans their activity
gathering for the following week. The Friday following this activity gathering
is back in the home. And so on.

We hold H2H on
Friday nights because in Orange County this time slot is a socially designated
date night. Singles who would typically sit at home alone, can now be out with
a group of potential friends. We have a 7:30pm start time which gives the H2H
attendee a chance to get home from their work commute, get freshened up, and
grab a bite to eat.

We run H2H during three
seasons throughout the year: Winter, Summer, and Fall. The Winter Cycle
typically launches the beginning of February. The new year offers fresh, new
commitments and an excitement for things to come. It also helps prepare our
attendees for Easter. The Summer Cycle kicks off after Memorial Day while the
Fall Cycle begins six weeks before Thanksgiving. Ending the Fall Cycle at this
point offers a greater chance for singles to spend the holiday with new friends
as opposed to being alone.

These
get-togethers typically consist of 30-40 single adults per house and meet in
homes throughout Orange County. We have found that the most comfortable place
for singles to gather, connect, and have conversations is in a casual home
environment. H2H includes a time of engaging interaction and stimulating
conversation along with a biblical element.

The H2H program is
simple. It is meant to give attendees a taste of what a Small Group is like so
they will consider starting one or joining one. H2H is not designed to become a
‘ministry’ or a ‘group’ but rather it is a ‘program’ that funnels attendees
into a Small Group. Below is a home gathering loose time-line with volunteer
role responsibilities and tools they will need:

7:30pm                  Welcome

  • Greeters greet
    attendees at the door
  • Attendees find
    their name on the Sign-in Sheet and check in
  • Unregistered
    guests fill out a Guest Registration Card
  • Everyone puts on a
    Name Tag at check in
  • Connectors connect
    with everyone who walks in and help them get acquainted with others

7:40pm                  Icebreaker

  • Group Icebreaker

7:55pm                  Introduction

  • H2H’s overall
    purpose and Small Groups are explained
  • The theme and an overview
    of the evening are communicated
  • Break Out Groups
    assigned (5-8 people) to unrestricted areas of the home

8:05pm                  Facilitated
Interaction

  • Break Out Group
    Leaders facilitate the study and conversations

8:40pm                  5-Minute
Warning

  • Each group is
    given 5 minutes to finish

8:45pm                  Wrap
Up and Send Off

  • Everyone is
    rallied back together
  • Next Friday’s
    activity, sitting in Worship Service together and Small Groups are talked about

8:55pm                  Clean
up

  • The Host Home is
    left cleaner than when we got there

H2H is volunteer
led.
There are a number of volunteer positions that pull off H2H. There is an
overall H2H Director who leads the entire H2H Cycle. This person acquires a
House Leader and a Host Home for each house. The Director also trains the
Leaders, acquires all tools and resources to give to the Leaders, and collects
weekly reports and communications to send to the Pastor.

The House Leader
is the person who facilitates one particular house for the entire cycle. The
Leader puts together a House Leadership Team which makes it all happen. This
team includes an Associate Leader, Break Out Group Leaders, Activity
Coordinators, Connectors, and Greeters.

When singles register
for H2H, they are placed into a house based on age and location. We have four
age range categories: 20s/30s, 30s/40s, 40s/50s, 50s/60s.
We hope this will
give them a chance to meet many people and build new friendships with those in
an approximate stage of life. We do ‘card’ for this program. Birthdates are
checked and people are placed in the house of their choice as long as it
relates to their stage of life. For example, a 45 year old single could choose
to attend a 30s/40s house or a 40s/50s house. However, he may not attend the
20s/30s house, no matter how much he pleads.

Boom! That’s it in fewer than 750 words. Adjust to your setting. I had monumental success doing this as
a youth pastor in 1995 with high school students. I’ve had an equal amount of
positive results implementing H2H with our singles at Saddleback. You can, too!

Chris Reed is the Pastor of 20’s/30’s and Singles at Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, CA. Chris blogs about leadership development and adding value to young leaders at pastorchrisreed.com and you can also connect with him on Twitter @chrisreed.