If you receive my Church Leader Insights newsletter every month, you already know that I am an avid reader and I love passing along books that I find helpful in the monthly book recommendations section of the CLI newsletter.
This month I’m trying something new by recommending a couple of books via video. Take a look and let me know what you think:
July Book Recommendations:
P.S. Did you know that you can use this blog to ask me questions about what’s going on in your ministry situation? You can click on the “Ask Nelson” button on the right side of this blog at any time to send me your questions. Keep ‘em coming!
Here’s a recent small groups question that I received. I asked Adam Bishop, Small Groups Pastor at The Journey, to share his answer here:
Q: Hey, our church has decided to move to the semester-based small groups system that you guys use.
It really has us excited about small groups again and we’re trying to get ahead on our planning right now. That’s why I’m writing, because I have a question. Based on the Activate idea of small and large attendance numbers, we’re hoping for about 200 people to sign up for groups.
So, how do I determine how many groups I need each semester?
A: Thanks for your question. Setting your Groups Goal each semester is a responsibility that must be thought through with plenty of prayer and planning!
I want you to know that Kerrick Thomas and I spend time each month in our Small Group Tele-Coaching Network addressing questions like this along with other strategies for implementing and leading the Activate Small Groups System at the local church level.
Our next 8 month network kicks off in November! Just let me know if you are interested and I will send you the link for the application.
In response to your question… Here is the flow that we follow at The Journey:
1) Make sure your Sign Ups Goal surpasses your average Sunday attendance goal.
This is because the number of people who will attend your church over the course of your Small Group Semester will be much larger than the number of people who attend your church on any given Sunday.
You want everyone who comes through the doors during your promotion or sign-up month to sign up for a group.
2) Calculate the range for the number of Groups needed for the semester
We choose 12-15 to calculate the range of how many groups we need because we believe that 12 to 15 people is the ideal size for a Group.
So to your example…
Sign-up Goal: 200
Range of Groups Needed: 13 to 17
Median Goal: 15 Groups
3) Allow 20 sign-ups per Group.
This is vitally important to the health of your Groups. Remember, not everyone who signs up for the group will be able to attend due to changes in schedules and unforeseen circumstances. Allowing 20 sign-ups per group will ensure that 12 to 15 show up each week for the Group.
Allowing 20 sign-ups per group also fits well with your Groups Goal in 3 ways:
· First, it keeps you from committing the cardinal sin of groups which is to never have too few groups!
So if you confirm 13 groups on the low end of your range you will still have enough room to meet your Sign-up Goal of 200.
13 x 20 = 260
· Second, it allows you to be prepared if God moves and brings more people to your church and your groups than you had anticipated
Let’s say you confirm 17 groups on the high end of your range and God moves and brings more people to your church than you had anticipated. Your range has allowed you to be prepared for this!
17 x 20 = 340
· Third, knowing that you are covered on the low end and high end, most of the time the middle number of the range is where you will need to be.
15 x 20 = 300
Rarely does it work out where all of your groups will receive the same sign-ups so with 15 Groups that cover a good range of days and topics your sign-ups should break down evenly anywhere from 15 to 20 sign-ups per group which will allow you to meet your Sign-Ups Goal of 200!
4) Minimum Sign-Ups per Group
Once the semester begins, if a group has less than 5 sign-ups it is best to combine this group with another one. You must exhibit care and encouragement when you do this. If this happens remind the leader that people sign up for location, topic, and day….not the leader. Encourage them so they will want to lead again.
If the Group is between 6-9 sign-ups I will contact the leaders and ask how the group is going. Most of the time the leaders will want to continue and feel that they can get at least 5 more people to join the group through the invites of those who are attending. This usually happens and the group goes well.
We also continue to run sign-ups 2 to 3 weeks into the semester. We will only list the groups online and in our catalog that are lower in sign-ups to help them fill up within the first 2 to 3 weeks of the semester.
Great job with your groups and continue to plan ahead!
P.S. For more information or to Apply Now for Small Groups Pastor Tele-Coaching, CLICK HERE.
Here is today’s coaching alumni highlight:
Mike Osborne is the Lead Pastor of Journey: A Community of Faith in Florence, Kentucky (near Cincinnati, OH). His coaching experience has been an interesting one (as you’ll hear in his video) and he has really been working hard to implement all that he’s learning.
It’s humbling and rewarding to see all that God is doing in and through Mike and guys like him as a result of the coaching network.
Journey: A Community of Faith
Florence, KY (Greater Cincinnati Area)
There’s less than a month left before my upcoming Senior Pastor Tele-Coaching Network (it starts August 20)? Have you applied yet?
For more information or to apply now, visit:
When The Journey first got started we signed up for a program that offered us a free color laser printer from Xerox – it was a great deal and it really helped us. There was only one catch to the program: we had to buy the ink from them. But we would have had to buy ink anyway!
On top of the free printer itself, they were really on the ball with tech support (included as part of the program). It was a great way for us, even as a young church, to be able to print in-house with good quality (and color).
Here’s some info on the program:
Since 1999, Xerox has given away over 10,000 color printers to nonprofit and religious organizations. This free printer program was designed to help ecumenical and nonprofit organizations like yours afford a high-quality, in-house printing solution that produces vivid color materials that get attention and engage church members, donors, volunteers, students and the public. Print your Sunday bulletins, programs, newsletters, prayer cards, sheet music, educational materials, letterhead and more…for less!
If you are selected for the program, you will receive:
- A new Xerox Phaser® 8560/DN business class color printer
- Free 3 year warranty with onsite service and technical phone support
- Free delivery of the printer
- High-quality ink at competitive prices
To see if your church qualifies, complete a no cost, no obligation application at www.FreeColorPrinters.com and enter the referral code 769703
P.S. If you’re a Church Planter looking for free stuff, I’d like to give you more than $75 in resources to help you get started – CLICK HERE.
Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of today’s post (there’s a reward). Here’s a recent servant evangelism question that I answered for a pastor:
Q: Hey Nelson, we’re doing a bunch of servant evangelism this summer and I know you guys do a lot too. I have a question for you: When you give away bottled water, do you just go to Sam’s Club (or a comparable store) or do you get your church’s logo and website printed on the bottles? If you get your logo printed, etc. what company do you use?
As for the water bottles, we purchase them from Sam’s (or wherever we can buy in bulk for wholesale prices). There’s really no need to go to the extra effort of custom printing as people toss the empty bottles in the end anyway.
Instead, we make sure to give out an invite card with each bottle (at least then there’s a chance that they’ll slide the card in a pocket or a purse for later).
In the spirit of today’s Q & A, I want to give you $5.00 OFF of my Reaching Your Community through Servant Evangelism resource.
To receive your $5.00 OFF, CLICK HERE, click “Add to Cart”, and enter and apply the special code SEBLOG when you’re checking out
Keep reading the blog each day for more deals like this.
In case you missed it, you have one LAST CHANCE to sign-up for my free Church Systems Teleseminar on Wednesday (the Tuesday one is already sold out at 999 people!). Here’s the info:
Join me for a FREE 75-minute tele-seminar without ever having to leave your office or home! I will teach you all the basics of church systems and how to use them to make your church more effective than ever.
God designed all the parts of the body – both the church body and the physical body – to work together, allowing us to fulfill God’s purposes and plans on this earth. And both of those respective bodies function best through well-developed systems.
This event will fill up, so REGISTER TODAY. Once registered, you will simply call in to participate. This is a great opportunity to train your entire staff with this free tele-seminar.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
1:30PM – 2:45PM Eastern
12:30PM – 1:45PM Central
11:30AM – 12:45PM Mountain
10:30AM – 11:45AM Pacific
Here’s what you can expect to learn:
- How healthy church systems honor God
- How to distinguish system problems from people problems (and why your people may not be the problem)
- How well designed systems save you stress, time, energy and money
- The 8 systems of a church (and the vital role that each system plays)
- The relationship between good systems and good people (and how to maximize your church’s effectiveness through each)
- How far church systems can take your church (and what systems can’t do)
Space is limited – REGISTER TODAY!
Tele-seminar participants will need a phone with long distance to participate. Long distance charges do apply.
Talk to you on the call,
P.S. I’m doing this free seminar, in conjuction with the release of my new Church Systems 2.0 report. You can download it for free at this link.
Enjoy today’s coaching alumni highlight:
John Newland is the Pastor of Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis. He’s a leader in his community and his denomination. More important than that, he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to grow himself and his church to reach as many people as possible for Jesus.
I’m blessed to get to see how God uses guys like John to fulfill His purposes.
Fall Creek Baptist Church
Have you applied yet for my upcoming Senior Pastor Tele-Coaching Network?
For more information or to apply now, visit:
Q: I recently was a part of one of your Top 3 Growth Barriers events. It was very timely and helpful. I greatly appreciate your investment in us.
We planted our church about six and a half years ago. We run just under 200, but we have been stuck on a seesaw there for a couple of years. We have an opportunity to buy an existing church building from a church that built a new building.
It is more traditional in appearance than we would prefer, but it would double our existing space and give us land to build on in the future for a reasonable price. Do you think it would hurt a church plant to be in a more traditional building?
Also, we have enough money for a 20 percent down payment and are approved for a loan. We don’t have enough money to do all the renovations though. Do you think it is wiser to try and raise that money first or do the deal and raise the rest as we go?
Thank you very much for everything.
A: Thanks for coming out to the Top 3 Growth Barriers event. It was so much fun I’ve decided to do a few more in different parts of the country.
Here’s the big point on buildings (that’s many churches fail to realize until it’s too late):
You will never raise more money for a building
than you will BEFORE you move in.
Once you move in, people get comfortable.
You are at a good size to do a 3 year capital campaign (which should raise you 2 or 3 times your annual budget). For more on that, see “Money Matters in Church” by Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Stroope.
You have a great opportunity to grow, but take it slow and do it right.
That said, I think my coaching network could be good timing for you. I’ve had a lot of guys tell me that gong in a new building is the best time to be in a network – think and pray about it and check out www.ChurchLeaderInsights.com/telecoaching
If I can be very direct – a building does NOT cause growth and most people do NOT grow when they move in to a new building. Mainly because they are NOT patient enough to do it right and do not have FAITH enough to raise the money ahead of time.
I’m praying that you will have patience and faith!
P.S. Have you applied yet for my Tele-Coaching Network for Senior Pastors? You can find more info and download your application at
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