Back in May 2013, I was featured on Rick Howerton’s Blog with NavPress for a four day interview on “Small Groups or Mid-Size Communities?” He has since joined the staff at Lifeway, and thus the previous posts have gone away. Here’s the second post:

2. When you met with your leadership team, especially your senior pastor to consider the move from small groups to mid-size groups, what questions arose (and/or what conversation took place) that drove your church to move to mid-size groups?

Well, first of all, I try not to use the phrase “mid-size groups,” since most people like to create acronyms and this movement would become…well, let’s just say that the Asians would like the flavor of it. But getting back to your question, my senior pastor and the leadership team knew about the problem, as I mentioned in the previous post. The statistics showed that our small group system was good, but not great. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, our small group system was so successful, that we even hosted our own small group conference with Willow Creek’s Bill Donahue. This conference happened even before small group conferences were popular. However, as our church continued to grow, the percentage of individuals in small groups didn’t. There were spikes here and there, but no sustained growth.

Since the senior leadership knew about the problem, they were open to suggestions, but the ideas had to be well thought-out and processed through before any trigger could be pulled. After all, small groups had been such a powerful part of many our church members’ spiritual journeys.

The change management process was long and arduous, but it was well worth it. I could have done my research, written up a proposal, and brought it straight to the senior leadership, but I decided to take the better approach. This approach involved praxis, extensive conversation, and collaboration amongst staff, key lay leaders, and the unconnected in our church. Continue Reading…

Back in May 2013, I was featured on Rick Howerton’s Blog with NavPress for a four day interview on “Small Groups or Mid-Size Communities?” He has since joined the staff at Lifeway, and thus the previous posts have gone away. Here’s the first post:

1. What were you trying to accomplish in your small groups that was not being achieved and why do you think the smallness of group life was keeping you from accomplishing that?

If someone were to tell you that 25% of their church was in some form of community life (i.e. small group or mid-week programming), how would you react? Other than a slight, “Yeah, that’s pretty typical” response, you probably wouldn’t think much of it. Well, what if someone were to tell you that their church had grown by 31% over the past 10 years, but that the number of people engaged in community remained the same? You’d probably think that was pathetic, and move on to learn from someone else.

That was the case at my church, and I was hired to do something about it.

Being a learner, entrepreneur, and systems thinker, I quickly learned and piloted every small group technique and method under the sun (not all at the same time though – I’m not that crazy). I wanted to experience the astronomical growth that the books promised me. I tried everything from a semester model to a sermon-based group model. I even launched new groups every month, in addition to piloting online groups. Sure, I saw growth and new people getting connected regardless of the method that I used, but there was always a bottleneck and people who didn’t want to join. The growth wasn’t exponential, it was additional – and that wasn’t good enough for me.

Continue Reading…

Here is a fascinating infograph that illustrates how Google, Microsoft, SC Johnson, Facebook, Netflix and other organizations are keeping their talent by providing employee perks.

Companies often use perks and incentives to make sure their talented employees never leave. But some of these perks mean that employees literally never have to leave.

Read through this infograph to discover the disparity between what employees say they want versus what employers think their employees want.

In light of this, do you have a plan to keep your talented staff?

Continue Reading…

The New Wave in Storytelling

February 11, 2014 — 4 Comments

Gary Vaynerchuk, the founder of VaynerMedia and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author as well as a self-trained wine and social media expert, does a great job challenging us to stop storytelling like it’s 2007.

Although his language is a bit crude at times, he challenges us to story tell in micro moments because times have changed. People don’t open email marketing anymore, banner click throughs are obsolete, TV advertising is useless since people just PVR everything, and billboards don’t always work since people are texting while driving.

He asserts that story telling is more about the context than it is about the content – so what is the psychology around people who use Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter? And how should that alter the way you advertise on those means? What would it look like to figure out where people’s eyes and ears are, and then develop our marketing strategy around that?

He concludes with an assertion that we need to give people value. He says, “Let’s give, give, give, then ask…You don’t need a business objective for everything.”

In light of this fascinating talk, how ought our advertising in the church change? How can we continue to give our congregants value, and help them understand that it’s value?

Values influence behaviour and decision making – both implicitly and explicitly. They are essentially the personality of an organization, or in this case regarding mid-size communities, the personality of a movement.

If these six BELONG core values are embraced in your mid-size community, then you will not only find your mid-size community to be a place of community and mission, but you will discover that others will be irresistibly attracted to your mid-size community.

What do you think? Would you change anything about these six BELONG values?

MSC Core Values