Tom Shefchunas

How Small Groups Create Momentum

by on in Small Groups, Strategy.
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As an old science teacher I couldn’t help myself but to talk about momentum in today’s post.

In the classroom, momentum is the principle that an object that is moving “wants” to keep moving in the same way. The bigger it is, and the faster it is, the more it “wants” to keep moving in that direction.

The other day I was doing a little writing and trying to uncover some of the “unstated” beliefs I have about our small group systems at North Point. It is working pretty well and I wanted to figure out why. (Actually, that would be a good post for another time: because we rarely take time to figure out why things work, we have no idea how to fix them when they stop working.)

Why are North Point’s small groups going so well? Here is what I discovered.

We pay attention to relational momentum.

Basically, we feel our entire weekly program should be used to help Small Group Leaders create quality memories around biblical truth. (Don’t miss that one… there is a huge paradigm shift in that statement… but we can talk about that later too). Those memories and moments all add up to relationships.

Those relationships create momentum. And we can then use that relational momentum to add a little energy to otherwise dead times during the year.

So how do you capitalize on relational momentum? Here are some things we’ve found to be successful…

EVERY YEAR

1. VALUE SMALL GROUPS. A weekly program without small groups does not build relational momentum. Do whatever you can to keep small groups meeting consistently.

2. DO ONE BIG EVENT EVERY QUARTER. Look at your calendar. Do you have some sort of event each quarter where small groups can connect?

3. USE THE RELATIONAL MOMENTUM OF OVERNIGHT EVENTS. Overnight events are HUGE relational momentum builders. Do an overnight event on Saturday, and don’t lose that momentum by canceling your Sunday program the next day.

4. DON’T OVER-PROGRAM YOUR FALL SEMESTER. This seems to happen often. Consider spreading things out into the spring and winter.

5. HANG IN THERE DURING JANUARY AND FEBRUARY. This is the time of year when holidays, midterms, and “The Big Game” can really hurt our momentum. But don’t give up. This might be a great time to plan a big small group driven event, like a “Discipleship Now” weekend in host homes.

6. KEEP SMALL GROUPS GOING DURING THE SUMMER. Because summer can be a momentum killer, if you don’t do groups in the summer, you should consider it. Though, keep in mind, you’ve got to pay attention to when your Small Group Leaders need a break. 

Want to see what this looks like for us at North Point?

OUR ANNUAL SCHEDULE AT NORTH POINT

FALL

  • AUGUST: 6th Grade Retreat
  • OCTOBER: 7th and 8th Grade Retreat
  • NOVEMBER: Operation Christmas Child Service Opportunities
  • DECEMBER: Normal Christmas Programs

WINTER

  • FEBRUARY: Walking Wisely Weekend (for 6th,7th and 8th Grade small groups) 
  • MARCH: Sex Series (always get’s the small group conversations going!)

SPRING

  • APRIL: Double Dog Dare (an “invest and invite” event for students and their small groups)
  • MAY/JUNE: Promotion into the next grade (lots of momentum for new 6th graders and rising 9th graders)

SUMMER

  • Do groups as often as possible. Attendance might be lower than normal, but it’s still important.
  • Mission trips.
  • Individual small group outings are KEY in the summer.
  • Rising 9th graders do camp at the beach with their SGL.

That’s what it looks like for us. But what do you think? How do you maintain relational momentum?