Often in this crazy, hyper-charged world we live in today, we tend to forget the “simple” in life. We become so programmed for things being complicated that we forget that sometimes easy is better. Case in point: my latest experience in volunteering—that is, attempting to volunteer.
Our church is new and so they’re working on a learning curve with a lot of things most ministries take for granted. So when they made an announcement that they were looking for people to build an outreach team, I thought it would be a great place for me to plug in. That is, until I went to the informational meeting. It was there that I was told I needed to fill out a long application, at which point someone would call me to interview me to make sure I’d be a good fit for the team. The following week I was routed to another person, who told me I’d have to participate in the membership class before I could be part of the team (although they hadn’t offered a membership class yet!) and then there may be some spots available in certain areas for me to help (none of which I felt passionate about). Needless to say, it was way more complicated than it needed to be and so I bailed. I ended up plugging in to serve in an area of ministry that made it simple for me to be involved.
In Part 4 of the book Creating Community, readers will discover that making connections requires simplicity. When we make it difficult to get involved or to connect, people (especially newbies) will disengage rather than stick it out for the long haul. Here are some ways to make it easy for people to connect:
When you provide too many options, it fogs the process and it’s often easier for people to disengage than make a decision. To make it easy for people to connect, you need to first clarify the win—determine what is important and what really matters. Then lay out the steps required to get there. At North Point, this involved creating steps, not programs. How will you lead and guide people to where you want them to go? Develop a simple strategy to help people connect—steps that are easily attainable and align with your mission.
Make It Easy
Obviously my experience on trying to connect with a ministry at our new church was not effective because people, with good intentions, made the process too complicated. For a step to be effective, it needs to be easy, obvious and strategic. Provide a few simple options for people and clearly communicate your message. Create an environment that is welcoming, informative and engaging. Then make it easy and instantaneous for a person to connect and get involved on the spot.
North Point understands that people are often reluctant and hesitant to commit. So, they eliminate this barrier by offering “starter” groups where people “date” for eight weeks. They equip the groups with a staff coach, a new group DVD that emphasizes the purpose and priorities of small groups, and they give leaders a guide with curriculum. Then, if after eight weeks group members don’t feel like there’s a chemistry there, they’re free to disband and explore other groups that would be a better fit—no questions asked.
Think On This
Does your church think steps or programs? How can too many options backfire for a church? Why is it important for steps to be strategic and that they align with your mission? How would letting people “test drive” a small group change the perception of getting involved in a small group at your church?