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Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
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Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
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Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
Preparing for Fall: Get Your Groups Ready
For church leaders, the first day of September is like a starting gun ringing in the air. September through Thanksgiving is typically a time of growth and harvest after the dog days of summer. In light of this, it is important for us to prepare for the fall, lest we get overwhelmed when the wave hits. Below is the process I use to get ready for the fall and cast vision for the season of growth.
Build the Plan
Using historic data for your church and accounting for any significant changes you have made recently, project the attendance numbers you are targeting for the upcoming year. I generally set targets for September, January, and Easter. These are our biggest opportunities for growth: September as folks re-engage from the summer, January as people make resolutions to get more involved, and Easter as churches reach people who are rolling in for the first time all year.
Using the projected growth and attendance, determine how many Community Groups your church needs to adequately care for the people you project will be in your church. This number depends on your goals for participation. At Mars Hill, our goals are between 60 to 80% of attendance in Community Groups. Less than 60% indicates a lack of buy-in to group life, and over 80% indicates the church is not growing.
Build the Team
Raise Up Coaches
The most common mistake I see at this point is to take your projected group number and go after new leaders. While this may get you off to a good start, it can also overwhelm your current coaches and will lead to many groups failing which otherwise could be life-giving successful groups.
That said, my first task is to raise up enough coaches to handle the projected growth. I plan on one coach for every four leaders, so I take the next season growth projection and divide the number of projected groups by four. This gives me the number of coaches I need to be poised for growth.
Once I have coaches in place, I am able to cast vision to the existing leaders, as well as to the church. The coaches give me confidence that when new leaders respond to the call to leadership that we have the capacity to care for and train them well. At this point I use our monthly Meet-Up/Sync with leaders and coaches to lay out the vision for our groups over the fall as well as yearly goals.
Raise Up Leaders
With leaders and coaches on board, it’s time to raise up a crop of new leaders. While the predominance of your leaders are developed through the apprentice process within groups, growth seasons require an added boost. So in the fall, New Year, and Easter, it is a great time to call for potential leaders to attend a centralized training. I prefer a three- to four-week training to go through the basics of leading a Community Group, and then pairing up potential leaders with existing groups to complete the apprentice process. This gives you the chance to impart some of the expected DNA of the church into these prospective leaders, while still giving ownership to your current leaders to complete their development.
Execute the Plan
Finally, one of the most important things we can do during a growth spurt is to ensure the proper DNA of our new groups. We often get so focused on catching up to growth that we get sloppy with establishing the gospel motivation and purpose of our groups. To ensure each group we launch at Mars Hill understands these purposes, we have developed a six-week launch curriculum to jump-start the group. This same curriculum can be used to reset and realign groups at the start of the fall. This workbook curriculum is now available for churches to use as a companion to Community: Taking Your Small Groups Off Life Support.
Once groups have been launched, the work is not done. Use every opportunity including Sunday services, blog posts, and your communication structures to reinforce the churches commitment to community. Celebrating the launch of new groups, new coaches, and stories of God’s grace through your groups, will go a long way in establishing Community Groups as a priority for your church.