I serve at a church that is a little less than two years old, and we have a 79% connection rate in groups. We also have less than 100 people attending on the weekend. I wanted to write this article geared more towards that smaller church leader. Whenever I talk with a new group leader I always tell them to not rely on the sign-ups that we do in the lobby. There are several reasons why those may or may not be accurate. Our church is not in a place right now to do any large scale connection events. Those are great, and I am praying we will be there one day. Here are the three things I tell my new leaders:
1. It is all about relationships. When we start new groups, I am not asking my leaders to give up the friends they have. If they have two or three friends that are interested in joining them in their group, I am fine with that. I only ask that two of three things happen for it to be considered a group. Spend time in Worship, Spend time in the Word or Spend time in Prayer.
2. It is all about a personal invitation. I do not want new group leaders to think that I will fill the group for them. I will do what I can, and point people towards their group that fit, but I want my leaders to assume the responsibility. I have found, even with groups my wife and I have led, there is nothing more powerful than personally inviting someone to join you.
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3. It is all about the open chair. I encourage my groups to continue the mindset of personal invitation even after the group begins meeting. We should always be looking for that person that crosses our path that made need what we have to offer. I was serving at Passion 2017 in January in Atlanta when I was talking with another leader that was walking through a difficult family situation. A situation similar to what I had been through. We were able to talk and just relate with one another. This only opens when we are open and paying attention to what is around us.
So, as we close, I just want to encourage you to continue making relationships, inviting people you know, and looking for those that you don’t know, but who need what you have. Some of my greatest times in ministry have come when I least expected too.