If you could save yourself three-four emails a week and potentially three-four additional conversations, would you take it? Sounds too good to be true, right?
As a small group point person and leader, you play the role of the chief communicator of the small group ministry of the church you serve. Taking the time to craft a weekly email to the small group leaders and coaches establishes trust, credibility, and value.
I started to serve Browncroft in the Small Group Ministry in 2014. One of my first tasks included sending the sermon-aligned group guide to the small group leaders each week. Every Friday, during the small group semester, I email the small group leaders. This practice has built trust from the leaders, and it communicates the value of their leadership to inform them.
You might feel overwhelmed by thinking of adding one more task to your plate. I have seen firsthand how a weekly small group leader email saves time. You will get fewer questions. You will efficiently discover how to better resource leaders. Lastly, an email goes directly to the leaders.
I want to share with a checklist for crafting an engaging small group leader email:
Input an accurate email list.
Start by confirming you have all the small group leaders and coaches in the email. You may have a Church Management System (CMS) like Church Community Builder or Planning Center. Those CMSs can allow you to create groups or lists to email. On top of that, you will want to make sure that you have key pastors, staff, elders, and other leaders to be aware of the small group ministry.
Schedule a consistent time to send the email.
If you read several studies on email, they will tell you the value of consistency. I send the small group leader email each Friday during the small group semester. Schedule a day that makes the most sense for your rhythm and based on what you need to communicate.
Identify the resources you need to send.
When I began sending a weekly email, I sent the sermon-aligned group guide. Leaders receive the email on Friday with the group guide and the background to the message. If you are not sermon aligned, you will want to communicate the resources for group discussions such as RightNow Media. Consider the weekly email as a source for small groups to engage.
Hone the subject line and the first sentence.
Let’s say the small groups you serve will discuss money. Which email subject would get more opens:
- Group Guide on Serving
- What’s the purpose of my life?
The correct answer would be bullet point number two. Catch the attention of the leader and help them realize how the small group will engage the topic. Then your first sentence needs to engage the leaders to help them think about the group meeting. Something like, “We ask what our purpose in life is, but do we miss opportunities to serve right in front of us.”
Celebrate the wins.
The weekly email is an opportunity for you to share how God is working in small groups. Ask permission, but celebrate leaders and share the number of people joining groups. Help leaders see they’re part of the bigger small group ministry.
Respond to FAQs.
If you receive a question more than once, it’s most likely a good thing to address in the email. Share an article from the Small Group Network. What you do for one question usually means responding to numerous others who did not ask.
Evaluate the email.
Ask leaders what you need to communicate. Ask leaders if they get the email. Some email systems like MailChimp allow you to see open rates and connect to CMSs. Quantitative and qualitative data can help you send a more compelling email.
A few months into sending a weekly email can become a conversation starter and can help you better connect with the leaders you serve. Your communication expresses value to the leaders you serve.