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Often times groups ministry is viewed as if it’s not as important as say, Kidmin or Students or the worship team. While we all know nothing could be further from the truth, getting that understanding across to the church isn’t as easy as just saying “you need to join a group.”
Show Don’t Tell
Simply asking people to join a group won’t achieve the desired results. Telling them they need to join one won’t either.
Before the first church had a worship team, or a kids’ wing or Wednesday night student paloozas, they had groups. Why? Because God built us for community. Our maker knows we grow best in the context of relationships. Not to mention, our lives are better when we’re together.
They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
By now you might be thinking, “well duh!”. However, just because you and I know this doesn’t mean the average church goer does. Often times, when approached about joining a group for the first time, an attender will brush it off. Why is that? They usually just don’t see the vision.
As leaders in the business of building community, it’s up to us to cast that vision far and wide.
How can we do that?
Start by thinking of all the positive benefits that come from community. Then, show those benefits to the church.
Casting Vision Gets People Into Groups
During the pandemic, isolationism has grown to epic proportions. Remaining isolated from others is the same as avoiding a restaurant or grocery store. Sure, you can get by for a while, but sooner or later you will begin to physically starve.
And, that’s what’s happening to so many souls right now. They’re slowly fading due to relational starvation.
This is why groups are so important and why the way we cast vision for groups equally so. If you simply get up in front of the church one weekend and say, “we need you to join a group,” odds are you’ll get crickets in response.
Instead, cast vision for what groups have done in your life, or the lives of others in the church. Testimonies are powerful, and the stories help people catch the vision. If they see a video or hear from a person they can relate to, odds are they’ll receive the message and act on it.
Every day the average American sees 5,000 ads. The purpose of these ads is to make the viewer see what they’re missing and how to get it. They do this by casting vision of life before and after their product.
Groups are not a product, a service or something you sell. However, lives are lesser without them and better with them.
When casting vision, always remember the receiver will run the message through the WIFM (What’s In It For Me?) matrix. When we show them life before groups and life after, that question is answered, and vision is caught.
Hearing is Believing
Before your next groups push, take time to gather some testimonies from your own group, your co-workers and people within your groups ministry. Then, structure those stories around this:
* life before joining a group – usually not good
* the catalyzing event – sometimes life altering
* life after joining a group – how did I live without this?
Maybe it looks something like this:
“I’d been approached about joining a group before, but just didn’t think I had time for it. Then one day I went to the doctor and got the bad news. I struggled with the information, and with no one to turn to, I went through the procedures alone. I’m not going to lie, it was one of the worst seasons of my life. Then, just as things seemed to go from bad to worse – my body wasn’t responding to the chemo as it should – a co-worker invited me to their small group. It took a few meetings before I opened up, but when I did, I discovered one of the other group members had just gone through the same thing. They came alongside me, helped me make it through the new treatments and before long I was on the road to recovery. If I hadn’t gone to group that fateful night, I’m not sure I’d still be here today…”
Odds are, right now in your church, there’s someone going through something all alone. Maybe it’s not as terrible as cancer, but to that person, it’s just as devastating in their current circumstances. Think of all the trying times you’ve endured. Perhaps a job loss, bad breakup, the death of a loved one, having to leave a home you love. Life is full of loss and when we go through it alone, our mind magnifies the experience.
Before the Pandemic, the American Heart Association published a new study showing loneliness contributes to actual heart failure. Going alone is not only bad for your soul, but also for your flesh and blood heart.
Then the Lord God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone…”
You can tie studies like this to real world testimonies to further expand your reach among the group skeptics in your church. And backing them up with scripture is the icing on the cake.
Then use these stories when casting vision. Isn’t that more powerful than “you need to join a group”?
This course will help you & your team plan for exponential growth in your small group ministry & features:
? 27 HD video sessions taught by Steve Gladen
? A downloadable workbook
? Lesson discussion questions
? An official Small Group Network completion certificate
Learn more by watching the free course introduction & enroll here!