In fact, with big names like John Ortberg leading this track in the past, it’s got me scratching my head… everyone else must be out of town that week.
Seriously though, it is a tremendous honor and I hope you will consider joining me. The folks at Willow put together a powerful conference each year and this one won’t disappoint.
Here’s the link if you’re interested:
Either way, I hope you’ll pray for me as I prepare.
P.S. If you don’t already have it, I encourage you to invest in my Planning a One Year Preaching Calendar resource by clicking here: https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/cart/store.jsp?view=4&i=p93&navicat=35
This is Kerrick Thomas once again – Executive Pastor at The Journey and co-author of Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups with Nelson. Nelson asked me to follow-up on the following question regarding the semester-based small groups that we use and recommend:
We have been using one type of model for small groups (ongoing) and one type for some on-campus studies (semester based). We have definitely seen the most growth in the semester based system and have decided to merge the 2 models under one umbrella. Your book has been a great resource as we are processing through how that would look.
My question is this…In listening to your online seminar you mentioned that some experts have said that when you reach the 4,000 to 5,000 range of participants that your model will begin to break down. Have you given any thought to the adjustments you will have to make?
We currently have about 1500 people in groups, but an average weekly attendance of about 4500 adults and students (another 1000 kids). I expect we could bump that upper “limit” in the next year to year and a half. Any thoughts?
This is a great question. However, we don’t see why there would be any problems with the Activate semester-based small group system past 5,000 people. It just hasn’t been attempted yet. The people who said they weren’t sure if the system would work at a larger church were not using the system (they were doing on-going small groups). And honestly I think they said that as an excuse not to put in the work to give it a shot.
If a college can effectively enroll 30,000 students for a semester of classes – I don’t see why a church couldn’t get 5,000-10,000 people in small groups each semester.
The key is to have a scalable structure in two areas:
1) You must have total staff involvement. You aren’t just hiring people to do groups – but every staff person has a small group responsibility (that’s only a small part of their job description). So, as your staff grows to reflect the size of the church – the number of staff who are helping run the system grows as well. And each staff can effectively manage and help set up 15-25 small groups each semester each.
2) You must be constantly raising up new small group leaders. And that’s the best part of the semester-based system. With every new group you add the potential for raising up new future leaders is multiplied.
These are two issues we are going to cover in-depth in the upcoming Small Groups Tele-Coaching Network that Nelson and I will be leading. I would encourage you to consider being a part of it if you guys are implementing this model – I think it will be helpful.
You can read more about the Coaching Network and get an application at this link:
It is just about to begin and consists of one 2-hour phone call each month for 8 months – please fill out an application if you are interested.
P.S. For another great resource to give you an in-depth look at what’s involved in implementing semester-based small groups at your church, purchase a copy of the The Small Groups Intensive.
I’m wrapping up a series of Church Planting Q & A’s today that I started a couple of weeks ago. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Q & A series as much as I have. And THANK YOU to all who joined me for the Launch Conference in Baltimore last week.
I love to hear and answer questions from church planters, so as we wrap up this series of questions remember that you can always click the “Ask Nelson” link to the right of the blog and send in your own. That being said, here’s today’s Q & A:
Q: What do you typically see in the numerical drop after a new church’s launch? We are only three weeks in and have gone from about 230 locals to 175 locals to 155 locals the following week… is this normal? The weather these weeks were horrible and we were on winter break, but should I expect it to go down more? Any strategic thoughts on how to reverse that trend? (BTW, we have effectively done follow up on all of this… using your Fusion assimilation process).
A: A drop after launching is natural. When we launched The Journey, we went from 110 to 55. Just stay strong on the follow-up and don’t let up on evangelism. Encourage your people to invite their friends. And Easter – the church planter’s best friend – is only a couple of weeks away.
You can utilize Easter as your 2nd launch so that maybe you can have over 200 or 250 there. If you haven’t done so already, download my FREE “How To Maximize Easter” e-book and check out some of the other resources we have to “maximize Easter” to make the maximum Kingdom impact on Resurrection Sunday.
P.S. If you just couldn’t make it to the LIVE Launch Conference, check out the Launch Conference on DVD:
A couple of weeks ago (in this post: http://www.churchleaderinsights.com/blog/2009/03/11/new-executive-pastor-tele-coaching/) I told you about the new Executive Pastor Tele-Coaching Network that Kerrick Thomas is leading. The first call for this new network is on Thursday, so I thought I’d send out a last call for applications.
If you are ready to read more and download an application, here’s the link:
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking to 11,000 students at convocation at Liberty University and was further honored to sit on the platform with my old friend Elmer Towns. He and Jerry Falwell founded the “little school” in Lynchburg, Virginia, back in 1971.
These days, Dr. Towns is the Dean of the School of Religion at Liberty and that “little school” has over 11,400 students on campus and over 30,000 more enrolled through their online programs.
He has spent the last 60 years serving Jesus Christ and doing his part to see God’s Kingdom expand. I could write an entire post on the influence of his “Friend Day” concept alone (an idea that inspired my BIG DAY resource).
His writing and teaching contributions to the Church in America and around the world have come in such areas as: systematic theology, evangelism, church growth, church planting, fasting, prayer, and more.
If you don’t know much about Dr. Towns, here’s a link to his official bio: click here
Our server here at CLI doesn’t quite have enough space for me to list all the books that Elmer Towns has written over the last 5 decades, so here are a few that I recommend you order today and read as soon as they arrive:
Dr. Towns, thanks for your contribution to the Kingdom – and for being one of my heroes!
P.S. Built on the shoulders of heroes like Elmer Towns and my own research and experience over the years, I have put together a resource called The Growth Barriers Workshop. Click here to secure your Boxed CD Set or Download It Now & save $20!
This is Kerrick Thomas – I’m the Executive Pastor at The Journey. Nelson asked me to share my answers to the following question:
Q: What do you guys do for a baby dedication? What do you read? Do you give anything away?
A: For our Baby Dedications we try to make it very simple and straight-forward. After our worship team does the first song – we invite the parents and babies to come up front. We talk about how special a day it is and how God is blessing our church.
Then we go down the line introducing each parent and each child. Trying to focus on the babies. If you are videoing it or doing imag – be sure to keep the cameras on the babies and not on you or the parents.
After the introductions we talk about the meaning of the Baby Dedication. How it’s not really about the babies – but about the parents and the church. How the baby is too young to make a decision to follow Jesus today – but as parents we can commit to raise our child in a godly way in the hopes that they will grow to make the decision for themselves and as a church we will make a commitment to support and pray for the families.
Then the pastor will read a commitment for the parents (and the parents say “we do”) and then a commitment for the church (and the church says “we do”). And then the pastor reads the certificate that each child receives and prays a prayer of blessing. It usually takes 5 or so minutes total.
Each child receives a certificate, a baby bible, and we email them with a picture of their family from that day.
Here are a couple of the documents we use for Baby Dedications (right-click and choose “save as” to download to your computer):
Hope this helps!
This is Kerrick Thomas – I co-wrote “Activate” with Nelson and he asked me to share this recent question and answer about transitioning small groups in a church with a more traditional structure:
Q: Hello! I am currently reading your book Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups. I am the associate pastor at a Christian Church. We average a little over 200 in two worship services.
We have “tried” small groups in the past and I am very interested in your method. My question has to do with getting the rest of the work of the church done. You mention how people can’t be going to worship and a committee and a women’s group AND a small group.
So what do we do with our Worship Ministry Team, and Property, etc? Would that become a small group? We have three full time staff, the senior, me and a youth/children’s minister. We are a traditional structure with committees meeting monthly, Christian Women’s Fellowship meetings, elders, etc…
How do we focus on small groups but still keep the church “running”?
A: To begin with, The Journey is a staff led church and have the benefit of not having to ask our church attenders and members serve on committees. Instead, we try to get them more actively involved in front-line ministry. With your current structure, you would probably still have to have your committee meetings on top of your small groups.
However, our women’s and men’s ministries are operated through small groups. We don’t have other weekly or monthly meetings. We have women’s and men’s small groups. And then at times the small groups will sponsor retreats/events, etc.
We also do community service through our small groups. And though our Worship Arts Team works separately from small groups, we do ask our vocal team and musicians to be in Worship Arts Small Groups.
The goal is to have as many of your areas of ministry as possible running through the small groups system so that you don’t have competing ministries.
I hope that helps!
P.S. For all the answers to your small groups questions, check out The Small Groups Intensive: https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/cart/store.jsp?view=4&i=p285&navicat=39
I “launched” a series of church planting Q & A’s last week in celebration of springtime here on my blog and in preparation for tomorrow’s LAUNCH Conference in Baltimore. Here’s today’s question…
Q: We only launched our new church a few weeks ago we and we already have close to 20 people who’ve indicated a first time decision to follow Christ. How far into this process do you recommend having our first baptism?
A: Get a baptism on the schedule. You might wait until the summer and try to have a big one and get as many people to participate as possible. But if you think you have a dozen or so people who you think are ready now – it can be a big boost. We’ve done them at the beach (our biggest that we do once a year), in the swimming pool of a health club, and we’ve used borrowed space from other churches.
When you do have a baptism, be sure to promote it and teach on why people should take that step. And then be sure to capture that event in pictures and video. We always create a video with music from our baptisms to use to promote upcoming baptisms.
P.S. Only 1 day until the 2009 LAUNCH CONFERENCE in the Baltimore, Maryland area. If you want to come you can still register now: https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/cart/store.jsp?view=4&i=p235&navicat=27
P.S.S. If you’re a church planter, I’d like to give you some FREE RESOURCES (over $75 value). Just click here: http://www.churchleaderinsights.com/resources/church_planters.php
With the economy like it is, I have been more passionate than ever about using technology to multiply the CLI ministry and to train more pastors and church leaders from a distance.
That is why we offered 5 identical “How to Maximize Easter” Tele-Seminars at all times and days of the week (thanks for the great turnout for those by the way) and that is why I’m doing next Thursday’s FUSION Webinar. We have a good crowd signed up already, but there are a few registrations still available. Here’s the link: https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/cart/store.jsp?view=4&i=p669&navicat=27
Nothing is exactly like “being there” and attending a live event, but this webinar is pretty close. One way it’s actually better than a live event: your webinar registration is per church, so you can gather your key staff and volunteers around a speaker phone and a screen and attend the webinar together (without any travel expenses).
Still not sure about the value of a webinar? Check out the email I received after the Activate Webinar last month:
First off, let me tell you what a great webinar!!! This was my third webinar , but this is the first webinar that volunteers joined me. It was fantastic! It really got them thinking about some new ideas and strategies. Thank you for that.
Also, I can’t say enough about all the amazing resources you give at the end. The resources alone more than pay for the webinar 5x over. And then I think of all the time I save by being able to sample your calenders, curriculum, leader notes, job descriptions, etc. THANK YOU for being the MOST PRACTICAL church leadership training network out there! I love how you are so willing to share the actual resources that you have developed and you let me use them and adapt them freely. THANK YOU!
You guys are simply awesome! Thanks for the tools you offer to build up the kingdom!
Let me know if you need another small groups guy or adult ministry or care giving pastor of some kind.
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. Click here to REGISTER NOW for the Fusion Webinar (next Thursday, March 19): https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/cart/store.jsp?view=4&i=p669&navicat=27
Here’s today’s church planting Q & A:
Q: I planted a multi-ethnic church in Seattle area about 8 years ago and it’s going well. God now has relocated me to plant a church in Los Angeles area but it is a Korean speaking church.
I’m contemplating attending the one-day Launch Conference in Baltimore on March 17th. Before I make a commitment to attend I need to answer the question: Is this conference going to help a church plant that deals with different cultures and different background?
Thank you for your ministry and thank you for your commitment.
This is a great question!
We have seen that the Launch Conference has helped ethnic church plants as well as English speaking church plants. In fact, the Launch book is soon to be released en Espanol (see image).
The principles outlined in Launch are not designed for any particular culture. They are practical principles that church planters have used in their context to launch large and keep growing.
I’m very confident that your new church will benefit from this conference. So here’s my promise to you: If after the conference you don’t believe that your church plant has benefited in any way, I’ll refund your registration fee. Just email me and tell me why and I’ll make it happen. No questions asked.
** LAUNCH CONFERENCE 2009 is only 5 days away! I hope you will register to join us in Baltimore next week. You can do so here: https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/cart/store.jsp?view=4&i=p235
Have a great Thursday!
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