THIS MONTHS QUESTION is from Steve Gladen of Lake Forest – What type of celebratory/vision casting gatherings do you have for your small group leadership?
Our answer for this month comes from Joe Windham, one of our State Point People for Florida.
Event Details: Grace Family Church – GamePlan Men’s Small Group Connection Event
This event originated out of a meeting with my pastor back in June. I was concerned with the low number of men’s small groups we had. At the time, we had less than twenty. In comparison, our ladies had over 80 healthy groups. So, my pastor prayed and felt that God was leading him to do a four week series to men in August. I asked him if we could sandwich a small group connection event in the middle of the series and he agreed.
I knew for it to be effective we would need at least 50 trained leaders ready for action at the big event. So, over June and July we prepared, raised up, and equipped 50 new leaders.
Secondly, we set the goal to invite every man in our church to this connect event. We made 5000 business card sized invitations and started handing them out.
We scheduled the event for Wednesday night, August 26, at 6:30pm. Our objectives for the night were to provide great “man food”, fun in the form of a mechanical bull, worship (we ended up having a 70 man choir that sang How great is our God while tears filled our eyes), a fifteen minute mixer time, and three connection breakouts.
Our Tuesday night breakout was entitled, “Wildmen. Our Thursday morning breakout was our pastors breakfast, and our last breakout was a general session for anyone who missed the previous day’s events.
Lastly we planned a short, challenging message, and then dismissal.
One hour before the night of the event we had the worst thunderstorm of the week. It just poured and poured. Discouraged, I retreated to my office and prayed. After awhile I sensed God leading me to trust him, despite the storms.
I took a deep breath, left my office, and walked down the hall toward the foyer, hoping to greet a few men. To my amazement, and in awe of God, I could not see from one end of our foyer to the other (and it is long foyer). It was absolutely full of men.
Our food was ravaged in less than thirty minutes, but thankfully, we had enough. As men poured into our main sanctuary I was broken over God’s blessing of all our hard labor. It was truly not in vain.
Our best estimate is that over 900 men attended and 100’s reported they couldn’t make due to the bad storms. Since that night in August we have had 48 new men’s small groups start with nearly 400 men attending for 2 weeks straight. God is good.
If you would like to know more about the event, or have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Windham is the Executive Pastor of Small Groups at Grace Family Church, and is one of our State Point Leaders for Florida. His huddles meet in the area of Tampa and Ft. Meyers, Florida.
NEXT MONTH’S QUESTION is from Dafnette Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland: How do you encourage male participation and retention in small groups? Do you plan fellowship outings, etc.? How can we equip male leaders to facilitate community among men?