Involving individuals in small groups is essential. We must endeavor to capture the imagination, attention, and heart of those we are seeking to reach. If your senior leadership is already on board and believes in the transforming power of groups, you are already on your way to launching small groups within your ministry. Marketing is a necessary component to launching groups and helping individuals get involved and connect.
a. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement and will continually gain momentum. Real-life stories of relationships and teamwork are great ways to capture the imagination of those you are trying to reach.
If you have video access, you could film an individual who has experienced the power of authentic community within small groups and show it during a service.
b. Examples of advertisements:
- Announcements during a service.
- Blurb in your bulletin. Don’t be too wordy. Try to be short and to the point. Connect the dots for those who are reading. Make sure the date, time, and how to sign up are included.
- Place sign-up sheets on the chairs or pews. Make sure individuals know where to return the sign-up sheets. When they turn in their sheets, consider giving a decorated cookie, cupcake, or other treat as an incentive.
- Mail a handwritten note to those in your church database. Write a short note encouraging individuals to join a small group, and explain how they can get involved. (If you have a printing company in your community, take your handwritten note and have them copy it on the same size paper as the note. It will look like you hand-wrote every letter. It is a personal touch that does not break the bank or your hand!)
- E-mail everyone in your church database with a link to sign up.
c. In advertising, we always need to answer two questions the audience will ask:
- What’s in it for me?
- How can I contribute?
d. As you advertise, strive to creatively capture everyone’s imagination. This can be time consuming, but it is time well spent.
Depending on the type of group(s) you are forming, acclimate individuals into your group in a variety of ways.
- Someone desiring to minister to single moms, women recovering from divorce, career women, etc., could form a group targeted for that specific audience.
- Organic groups form through word of mouth, not through an event or a church-wide announcement.
- Organization and follow-up for this type of group is the sole responsibility of the leader, not the organizer of groups.
- To establish multiple groups, an event is the best way to acclimate people into groups.
- Trained leaders can recruit people to be in their group.
- At the event, those seeking a group would be able to meet the leaders who fit their interest, location, age range, or stage of life.
- Be intentional in making the event fun. If possible, have giveaways and door prizes. The more we disarm those we are reaching, the more likely they are to connect!
- Multiple small group software is available to help you in this process (for example, ChurchTeams.com).
- The software can be accessed from your church Web site.
- The individual looking for a group could go online and browse the groups that have openings for more people to join.
- The individual would then contact the leader of that group for directions, and attend their next group meeting. Each person should feel free to try another group if the chemistry isn’t right.
d. Profile Placement:
Direct each individual seeking a group to fill out a profile.
- The profile would have questions such as: age, area of town, children’s ages, availability, and type of group they are looking for.
- You then could place them in a group that fits their profile.
- This avenue can be very time-consuming and does not allow for natural connection initially, but it can be an option.
These are just a few ideas for launching a small-group ministry. Ask the Lord for creativity as you design a ministry to help build authentic relationships.
List three ways you could advertise your new group to those in your church.
What do you think the best option is for helping individuals get involved in a group in your church?
As leaders, we must continue to grow and be challenged. We must surround ourselves with people who will help us on our journey, and provide those we are serving with the same opportunity. No matter where we are on our spiritual journey, small groups are a necessary part of our lives.
Authentic relationships can be summed up in these words: genuine, honest, real, transparent, open, and trustworthy. In one word, they are love. Jesus said the world would know us by our love for one another. Small groups are a beautiful example of the Acts 2:42 church.
Remember, Matthew 18:20, KJV, says: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Regardless of the size of your church, get started! Jesus is in your midst and is ready to change your life and the lives of those in your sphere of influence.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984 BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY®.
“A Leader’s Guide to Forming Small Groups” is published by National Women’s Ministries at women.ag.org, ©2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.