What are the essentials for starting new groups; what does it take? The first essential for starting a new group is a catalyst. In the book, Extreme Sunday School Challenge, Bruce Raley and David Francis look back on new groups they have seen started, “not one of those groups started on its own.” They needed a catalyst.
Do you remember your high school chemistry class? A catalyst is a compound that facilitates a chemical reaction. It may speed up the reaction. It may allow the reaction to occur with less energy input. In some cases, the catalyst is necessary for the reaction to occur. To start new groups we need people who will serve as catalysts. They will speed up the starting of new groups. They will help new groups start easier, with less energy input. They will be the factor that allows new groups to start.
Who are the catalysts for starting new groups? A catalyst for new groups can be anyone. It can be a pastor who champions new groups in the church because he knows new groups will help the church reach new people. It can be a staff member, a Sunday School director or a small group coordinator who plans for, coordinates and implements the starting of new groups. It can be a group leader who encourages those in his or her group to step out and help start new groups. It can be group members who are willing to leave behind the comfort and friendships of their current group to step out in faith to help start a new group.
What can catalysts do to start new groups?
- Be a
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champion for new groups. Speak about the positive results of starting new groups. Tell success stories of persons touched and lives changed in new groups.
- Identify where new groups are needed. Who is not being reached by current
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groups? Is it an age group? Is it another affinity group? Is it a group of people who need a group at another time or place?
- Identify new group leaders. Essential #2 is leaders (more on this tomorrow). A catalyst identifies and enlists leaders for new groups. Maybe it’s a friend. Maybe it’s a member of the group you lead. Be on the lookout for potential new group leaders.
- Start a new group yourself. When you see the need for a new group and no one else steps up to meet the need, perhaps God is calling you to start a new group yourself.
How can you be a catalyst for starting new groups?
Bob Wood is the State Church Strengthening Missionary for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He seeks to help churches be their best at making disciples of Jesus.