God is so creative in how he made the human race to be so diverse! Different nationalities, unique languages, beautiful skin colors and various interests! Here are 3 tips when launching interest based groups…
#1. Recruit leaders with an Appeal to their Interests
It’s crazy how two complete and total strangers who have never met before can instantly become like brothers the moment they start talking about the same sports team that they love! How does this happen? A shared interest draws them together. Interest based small groups have the power to bi-pass people’s natural hesitations to gather and warp-speed them into community! Therefore, when it comes to recruiting leaders for interest based groups, start the conversation with these questions… “What do you like to do for fun?” “What are your passions?” “What are your hobbies?” In larger churches, I would recommend that the small group ministry leader & the team of coaches connect with prospective leaders at the groups/ sign up table in lobby during weekend gatherings and/ or have a strategy to connect individually with people. For leaders in smaller churches of 500 or less, I believe one of most effective ways to recruit leaders is simply over coffee, over lunch or even one-on-one in the church lobby. From there, help your leaders choose a weekly or bi-weekly time that works best with their schedule to lead their group. Lastly, help your leaders come up with a simple format for their group. We encouraged all group leaders to share a short encouraging scripture during their group time, but the one aspect that all group leaders had to do was lead their group in a short time of prayer.
As a small group coach, Jesus appealed to his prospective leader’s interests when he recruited some professional fisherman named Simon & Andrew to be part of his ‘People Fishing’ small group ministry when he said…
“Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19
#2. Cast a Contagious Vision of Wholistic Community
When casting the vision of interest based groups to your pastor, leaders and church body, the focus should not be so much on leading or joining a small group, but more about enjoying wholistic community wrapped around the foundations of faith and shared interests.
When we launched interest based groups last summer, we had a geo-caching group, a softball group, a new mommies group, a bicycling group, a baking group, a motorcycle group, a mountain biking group, a few fitness groups and a learning to play music group among others! Adventure, food, fun and caring for each other around common interests – this is the kind of community that I think most people would be very interested in, if not longing to be part of!
“People join a group for content, they stay for the relationships.” – Rick Warren
#3 Diversify How You “Train” Your Team
To many people, the words “train,” “teach,” “seminar,” and “meeting” have become synonymous with another word called “boring.” For example, to promote in your video announcements that “Small group leader’s training is this Sunday during the 2nd service,” may not only come off as drab to your leaders, but many of them might not have the time to attend the “meeting.” Therefore, diversify how you equip your team by…