Monday, January 23, 2012

Is "Closing the Back Door" Enough?

Small groups are a great strategy for closing the back door. If people don't get connected within two months of visiting to your church, they are highly likely to move on. They might visit a church initially because they like the weekend services, but if they don't get connected to four to six other people, they will eventually move on. There are a ton ways small groups can be used to connect these people, including:
  • Church-wide campaigns (See Small Groups with Purpose by Steve Gladden)
  • Semester groups with a big push to join groups at the beginning of each semester (See Activate by Nelson Searcy).
  • On-going open groups with on-line sign ups that talk about the Sunday sermon (See Sticky Church by Larry Osborne).
  • Recovery groups that focus on specific needs
  • Task groups that make it easy for people to commit without deep relational risk

We need these options. I applaud them all. In churches that have lots of visitors and new members I say use these strategies. They help people stick.

But is this enough? Are we settling for getting people to stick and stopping there. Isn't there more than that?

There are those who think in either/or terms. They would castigate all of the above strategies as falling short of the goal of developing groups that do much more than close the back door. I have come to see that most American churches need a both/and approach. We need groups that are programmatic in nature and connect people attend on Sundays. But we should not settle for that. We need what I call Missional Small Groups.

Does your small group strategy settle for less that God's hopes and desires for your people? Don't settle. If want to take your groups to the next level, check out my latest book MissioRelate: Becoming a Church of Missional Small Groups. (Click here to read parts of the book for free.) It proposes a clear strategy that makes room for this both/and perspective.

No comments: