The Importance of Launching New Groups
Early on in my church life, I was part of a singles ministry at my church. I loved it! I made friends there, I formed great relationships with people that I still see and talk to regularly 10 years later, and I really learned to become a disciple of Christ. Those years were so impactful on me that I can't help but look back at them as some of (if not) the best years of my life. Most people come out of their early-mid twenties with a hangover. I came out with Jesus.
About 2 years into that singles ministry the church decided to disband the ministry, rename it, change the strategy and target group. I was devasted. The ministry that had impacted me so greatly was now gone, and I had no real idea why.
It wasn't until a few months later that I learned this church regularly stopped, started, and refocused groups/ministries as a way of getting new volunteers involved, and building excitement within the church. Once I understood that strategy, I was completely on board. New people got connected, relationships were formed, and people were discipled. It was great!
Thom Rainer wrote a great article about launching new groups in your church, and the importance of multiplication.
The principle is obvious: If you want to connect new people in church, you must launch new groups.
Of course, that raises another question: What’s stopping churches from regularly starting new classes and groups? While a plethora of reasons may exist, here are the three that stand out in my mind:
- A lack of vision. It’s easy for church leaders to become trapped in the present. If a church has a handful of Sunday School classes meeting on Sunday mornings and another handful of small groups meeting on Wednesday nights, that may seem good enough. People are gathering in community. Members are being fed spiritually. The system is working. But failing to launch new groups today means there won’t be a community experience available for the guests and new members coming tomorrow. Wise leaders have a continual vision to launch new groups.
- A lack of leaders. Launching a new group or class without a capable, competent leader is like launching a cruise ship without a reliable captain—bad things can happen. Therefore, churches are right to be hesitant about starting new groups when they lack the leaders to support those groups. Thus churches must continually identify new leaders, invest in them, and challenge them to help launch new groups for the sake of connecting God’s people in community.
- A lack of systems. If launching new groups is important, necessary systems must be developed. I am not talking about complex databases or lengthy procedure manuals, but simple systems that will help the church launch and communicate new groups. Church leaders must be able to answer these few questions and have simple systems in place:
- How does a new person get connected to a group/class?
- How are leaders recruited and trained?
- How are new groups launched and announced to the church?
Creating a mindset of continually starting new groups can be intimidating, and seem overwhelming, but it's one of the best ways to get new people involved, and continue growing your church through new members and new volunteers, not just the same core group doing everything.