August has passed. This is one of the key months of the year that most Small Group Ministries try to launch several new small groups and hope to add many new people to Bible study and community. So what do we do now? Among the tasks of getting reporting systems smoothed out and working properly, adding names to the database, visiting groups and meeting with group leaders to solve surprises and hear God stories….we start more groups.

I had rather work in God’s timing than try to convince him to work in mine. By that I mean it is difficult to enlist and train leaders during the summer. But in order to be ready for the August launch that is required. Church-wide series/campaigns are still the best way to connect the most people, and August is the “return to church” season. So we can’t do without the seasonal launch, but I encourage you to not stop there.

This week I met with a guy who feels he needs to start a small group in his neighborhood.  His comments opened with: “You know we wave as we leave in the morning. But we don’t know each other and we live within walking distance of each other.”  Then we discussed the opportunity to start a group and he asked, “When should I start?”  I told him whenever he could have a cookout and invite his neighbors…and his family could be there.(Of course I will get him with other leaders and meet with him for training and support.)

Sometimes, we make starting a group more difficult than it has to be. A simple way to add people to new groups is have the leader invite 4-6 couples they know. Start with a cookout/BBQ/bonfire.  Introduce people to each other, discuss life and family. Talk about the struggles, fears, hopes, excitements and how your faith has helped you through life thus far. Share how getting together is a good thing. Talk about starting a weekly/bi-weekly get-together to discuss these things. Offer invites to individuals/couples to come to your next get-together, date, time, location and what to bring.

These steps could be the first step to starting a new group anytime of the year. I can’t wait to see what God does in my friends neighborhood through his obedience to the call to start a new group.