Coaching the Call

Late Spring and early Summer are often consumed with preparations for a Fall small groups push of some sort. Maybe your church is doing a campaign, a church-wide study, a group launching event or some other community building endeavor. While we often place great amounts of time and resources into the mechanics of how this endeavor will (hopefully!) work, the way it’s communicated might simply be an afterthought.

Who is making the call?

Just as we’ve all been called to ministry, called to give of ourselves to build the church, spread the gospel and empower disciples, the people who make up our church have been called to biblical community. Unfortunately, in this day and age, the call often gets drowned out by the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Maybe your Lead Pastor allows you to stand up in front of the church and make the call yourself. Maybe the Lead Pastor will do it. Maybe another church staff member who handles announcements will ‘squeeze it in’ for you.

While you are the champion of community in your church, if you’re not making the call, then you’ll need to coach the one who is. We simply can’t afford for this call to go unanswered.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT

All of your efforts to make the fall groups endeavor a success hinge on the effectiveness of the call. The church is the single most important community in your area of the world. The people who make up your church must be engaged in that community, or it will be unable to function as God intended. Therefore, getting them to answer the call is paramount to realizing all that the Bride of Christ should be in your part of the world.

This is where groups come in. If your Lead Pastor is making the call, explain to them how much more effective the church’s presence in the community will be when a high percentage of the congregation is engaged. Studies from Barna and others have proven time and again that churches with a high percentage of groups engagement are more effective in accomplishing their mission.

• Want better turnout for volunteer events? Build groups.
• Want better engagement in serving teams? Build groups.
• Want a larger tithe base? Build groups.

As the saying goes, a church of groups is more effective than a church with groups.

Non-Verbal Communication

People hear passion and respond. People also spot indifference a mile away and react accordingly. If the person making the call is passionate about groups, that alone will win a large percentage of your congregation over. Passion is not conveyed in what we say, but how we say it.

How do you build that passion? By convincing the person making the call that we serve a passionate God who emphatically wants us all in community with one another. Share a powerful story of someone’s life before and after joining a group. Remind them of how the group of believers in the Book of Acts set fire to the world with God’s love through community. Find the ‘hot button’ topic of the person making the call, and show them how groups improves that area of life. In essence, make them a believer so they make those who hear them believe as well.

While dotting the “I”s and crossing the “T”s of your groups campaign or event is of great importance, how the call for it is delivered to the church will have a far greater impact on its ultimate success or failure.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20

Mike is an author, pastor and life coach living in St. Paul, Minnesota. His passion for groups, leadership development and Christian community has driven his actions for the last decade. Mike developed multiple discipling programs for Church Unlimited, a multi-site church in Texas, including UGROW, a pathway for rapid leadership development within a church body. In his spare time, Mike loves hanging out with his wife and son, writing music and dreaming up crazy ways to make the world a better place. You can follow Mike on his personal blog at


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Daniel Thomas

Connections Director


Daniel serves as Executive Pastor at Community Church of Mountain City, TN.  Daniel and his family are on a mission to establish roots within their community, fight for peace and serve well.  He serves as our Connections Director in laying the groundwork for Circles. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden



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