“My group is excited about growing in Christ.  I have 3 apprentice couples in my group who lead on a rotation basis.” As we talked he explained that, based on the Disciple’s Health Survey, his group was really weak on what LifePoint calls “Influence” toward their unconnected/unchurched friends.  Influence means investing time and prayer in your friends, neighbors and co-workers and letting our relationship with Jesus become part of the conversations often.

How can you increase the intentionality of your group on influence?  Here is an 8 month plan we put together to grow and/or start another small group.

1. Prayer time:  Ask your group often about their relationships with the unchurched. We suggest mentioning names or situations during prayer time in each small group gathering.  This will keep the important subject in the minds of your group, as well as give your group a chance to celebrate what God is doing in and through the lives of group members and friends. (Start January 8th)

2. Throw a party:  one of the clear expectations for every group is to have a party every month.  If you are in the on-campus/Sunday School model, this is called the monthly social.  I have watched my parents for 30 years use this event to grow the community in their class.  Move beyond just the community in your group by once a quarter focusing this party on your friends who are far from Christ.  They get to see your group in a casual atmosphere and having discussions about real life issues. (Super Bowl Feb 5?)

3. Summer time outings: Summer time gives you more opportunities to do life together.  As you plan your monthly parties in June, July and August, remember to invite your friends to build more community with the group in preparation for the fall campaign. (Ice Cream, boat outings, cookouts)

4. Invite to Campaign:  Each couple should invite one or two couples to the 4, 6 or 8 week church-wide campaign in the fall.  Some people become very hesitant at this point because the new couples may not be church attendees.  This is not about church attendance at this point, your focus is to build a relationship with them and connect them to other Christ-followers.  Church attendance will eventually come as God continues to work in their lives.  Let the couples know this is a short campaign, at the end of which they can decide if they would like to continue or not.

5. Start new groups:  If all the couples decide to continue with small group, consider starting a new small group or two.  The group in this illustration will be apprenticing 2 couples and 2 co-leaders from January to August.  If the group feels they are too large to experience quality community or cannot subgroup in the same house, then they will be ready to launch out with new groups.

You have 3 weeks to get ready for a new year.  What effort will you give toward growing your group?

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