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How to Keep Small Groups Connected

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Join Katie Allred and Kenny Jahng today as they discuss how you can keep Small Groups connected now that you have established them online. Katie and Kenny provide tips for engagement and follow through to keep your online groups connected!

This episode is brought to you by Ramsey+, a money plan for real life. You can start a free trial of the Ramsey+ system over at daveramsey.com/ccwebinar

 

 

Transcript:

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Church Communications podcast. We want to help you become a church communications expert. We understand it can be a challenging and ever-changing role because we’ve worked in the church too, which is why we built a community with over 25,000 church leaders that are ready to support and cheer you on.

Speaker 1:

Your hosts for the show are Katie Allred and Kenny Jahng who want to help equip you to reach more of your congregation and community. This is the place where we’ll talk shop with fellow practitioners and professionals about what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Kenny Jahng:

For over 25 years, Financial Peace University, our friends, have been helping churches find this freedom. Now, Financial Peace University is all about Ramsey Plus, an all access subscription. They’ve put everything in, the best money content, tools, and resources you can consume on an unlimited basis now.

Kenny Jahng:

To learn more about this flexible, efficient, and really cost-effective way to bring Ramsey Plus to your people, the Ramsey Plus team has put together a webinar just for us, for our Church Communications community. All you have to do is check it out at daveramsey.com/ccwebinar. daveramsey.com/ccwebinar.

Katie Allred:

Hey Kenny, how’s it going?

Kenny Jahng:

Super-duper fantastic. Super [inaudible 00:01:31]. How do you say that?

Katie Allred:

Delusional. Can you use delusional?

Kenny Jahng:

My brain is going faster than my tongue and my mouth right now. I’m just so excited to be here.

Katie Allred:

Well, that’s fantastic. I am pumped to be here as well. You know why? Because we’re talking about something that I love, which is how do we keep small groups connected beyond the first meeting? So awkward that first meeting, am I right?

Kenny Jahng:

It’s like, it’s one of those things where it’s kind of like the first day of school and you [crosstalk 00:02:03].

Katie Allred:

Right. You’re like, am I going to like these people? Are they going to think my jokes are funny?

Kenny Jahng:

But it is one of those things where I think, every single time, it’s worth it to go through it. And to just experience that moment of letting down your guard and then making sure that people know that you’re there to help them and they can embrace you as well. So I love small groups. I love that. And I think this is a great question because I don’t think this is actually talked about much. We tell our church leaders, you should always have small groups, small groups, small groups. But then what?

Katie Allred:

Here’s some curriculum, right? Like, here’s some curriculum. And you might have like 20 people show up for your first small group and you’re like, yeah, this small group has hopping. But once you actually meet the second week, people are like, I’m not really interested anymore, but how do we keep it together? The first thing I think we have to do in order to keep it together, Kenny, is we have to build relationships. Relationships are key. And that seems very obvious from the inset, but Kenny, how can we build these relationships better?

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah. Especially for these online groups that we’re seeing over and over again. All the inquiries that we’re getting at the Church Communications Facebook group, people who are messaging us, asking for tips.

Kenny Jahng:

So I think there’s three things that you really need to think about in terms of like, how do you build relationships across your groups? One is, you need to train your leaders on actual engagement tactics. And this is why I think this is a communications issue. And this is why, if you are a communicator, this is your ministry, helping to partner with your small groups, your discipleship groups, those life groups, helping them to train their leaders with engagement tactics.

Kenny Jahng:

The second one is, I think, you really need to help them open up and build relationships. And that might be everything from teaching them icebreakers, or teaching them how to actually have clarity in their communications in setting up things, even the basic house rules. So there are things that are standardized across all of your groups across your church. How are you as a communicator giving them the tools for communication?

Kenny Jahng:

And the third one, third tip I would say for building relationships is really just, you need to give your leaders excuses to follow up in between every single meeting. Just give them touch points. A reason to call, a reason to text, a reason to send a message on messenger. And again, this is-

Katie Allred:

You know what I think an easy touch point is, obviously you do prayer at the end of a small group, right? You go around and do this, what’s your prayer request situation. Or even if, okay, nobody shares a prayer request. You can do at the beginning of your small group, share a high and share a low of your week. And what I love about that is that you can follow up about those highs and lows or the prayer requests that people gave you. And just text them and be like, hey, I’m praying for you this week. I just wanted to follow up and see how you’re doing.

Katie Allred:

Okay? So that’s an easy touch point to kind of provide an excuse to continue that relationship so that somebody shows up again. Like, well, they texted me in the middle of the week, I guess I’ll come to small group this week. You know?

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah. Again, it comes down to communication, Katie, right? You got to stay in touch, you got to stay in touch with your people.

Katie Allred:

Right. 100%.

Kenny Jahng:

So let’s talk about that specifically. One of the best ways to do things is to have systems and processes and routines. And we always talk about, Katie, about weekly communications, right? Weekly stuff we do over and over again. Can you step us through some examples of … ideas for people that are listening in today?

Katie Allred:

For sure. So one big thing you can do is provide them content that they can forward to their group members. Now, if your small group is very sermon-based and very specific, it would be great if you can kind of tell them what’s coming up next. Not just because you’re going to talk about it in small group, but also because they could afford it to their friends and see if they want to come to small group. Or whatever, if they want to join your zoom call or whatever that’s going on that week.

Katie Allred:

And then another point to make is that consistent value turns into relationships. So relationships can also provide consistent value. So just, what you give is what you get. And so providing some consistent weekly communication, whether that’s through email or text messaging, will pay off in spades. So I actually do really recommend also using some text marketing, right? We have some great friends over text in church. I just think texting is a great way to provide extra value.

Katie Allred:

And then making connections with others for any of their needs that are observed and heard. Just like we talked about before, with prayer, asking for a high and a low, that was what we did every week. And honestly, it’s the greatest trick in the world to figure out what is actually happening in people’s lives. Because they don’t want to share it in a prayer request for some reason. I guess they don’t want you to be bothered to bring that to God. But they’re okay with sharing because they have to, everybody else is doing it. So they’re like, okay, well a high of my week was this, but the low of my week was like, my cat died. And nobody … why didn’t you tell anybody about that?

Kenny Jahng:

So true, so true.

Katie Allred:

So just making connections for those needs is really important. Peer to peer connections is also really valuable. So how can you connect people with other people in that small group? So you might want to even ask certain, specific people in that group, that aren’t the leader, to check in on other people in the group. Text them, relate with them. I think that’s going to be really important.

Katie Allred:

But Kenny, we know to ensure that our small group is the best small group ever, we have to have amazing … or really good curriculum that actually inspires somebody to want to learn more. And that has been the hardest thing for me, because as you mature and you become more of an adult, sometimes it is hard to find curriculum that is interesting to adults. And what I love is that, Dave Ramsey might be sponsoring this podcast, but I did just do it myself, okay?

Katie Allred:

I just went through it myself. And I learned so much and I love it because it is relevant. It is valid to your life. So let’s talk about how setting the current season or the feeling, the culture of your small group through curriculum is really important. I wanted you to touch on it.

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah, I think, so it is important to be intentional, right? You don’t want to just haphazardly pull together a group and just assume everyone’s going to come together and then that’s it. And so you do want to, again, find top-notch, well-rated curriculum and topics to talk about. You need to, just in terms of just setting up the meetings and the housekeeping, you want to make sure that if you’re a leader, or if you have leaders, that they understand.

Kenny Jahng:

You’ve got to reinforce it with them. It’s their job to set clear expectations across the group. It’s their job to respect other people’s time. You don’t want a book a half hour, 45 minutes, an hour a night, whatever length of the meeting is, you don’t want it to go over by, half an hour, an hour longer than they thought it was. Because they’re going to stay for obligation until they need to literally leave. And leaving on that note doesn’t feel good.

Kenny Jahng:

And then just things like making sure that you’re respecting all of the people’s times in terms of homework. A lot of these groups put out all this homework to do and all this … People are really busy. I don’t know about you, but in this season-

Katie Allred:

I can manage a text back to somebody, but doing a book every night is not going to happen for me. But when we did the Dave Ramsey group thing, that was the last thing I did. And it was during COVID so we did it over zoom. And we just had to email our leader one thing. And I was like, oh, well, this is easy. Like I’m not feeling like super stressed out about how much homework I have to do.

Kenny Jahng:

Absolutely. And you know, sometimes as leaders, or there are certain members of the group, we’re all in different seasons of our walk. And sometimes the leaders are the ones who are like, gung-ho about the Bible. They’re finding something that resonates with them and they feel like they can’t get enough. But there are people in different seasons. So you want to make sure you’re welcoming to all the people in your group. Just have some self-awareness and just be hospitable, right?

Katie Allred:

Yeah.

Kenny Jahng:

So the last thing that we talked about, Katie, what’s the last thing in terms of this topic in particular?

Katie Allred:

Yeah. So finding a topic, actually … On the term of topics. Finding a topic that people actually want to go deeper on, it is just really important. So I know we just talked about Dave Ramsey, but Financial Peace, just doing FPU online together was really beneficial for me. And watching their curriculum. So I don’t know if you’ve checked out Dave’s stuff recently, they’ve really redone it Ramsey Plus.

Katie Allred:

You log in, it’s a really intuitive and very good core system now where you can watch this curriculum. You can listen to it, you can do whatever while you’re driving.

Kenny Jahng:

There’s an app, right? It’s on mobile?

Katie Allred:

Yeah. It’s on mobile and it’s just a better experience than getting the book. I read the book back in college. And I understood it, but man, it’s really nice to have these great interactive kind of like videos that kind of walk you through. So anyways, finding really good curriculum. I like the online curriculum more than I like having the book, personally. They gave me a book too, but I was like, what am I going to do with this? I’ll gift wrap it and give it to somebody at Christmas.

Katie Allred:

But I really love this online experience they’ve created. It is so in depth and I just love it. And they’re going to continue to update it. A book can’t be updated. This Ramsey Plus experience can be updated constantly. I know they’ve even updated it with information from what happened during the coronavirus and stuff. So I feel like there’s so much good stuff there. But just creating … going through courses. They also have other courses. They have Smart Money, Smart Kids that have retirement planning.

Kenny Jahng:

Yeah. Right there, I think that’s a great idea of like, once you go through some study, some curriculum, finding something … If you had a great discussion, like you can measure the enthusiasm of the group. And I can imagine in a FPU group. I’ve led groups of 50 plus people in a group for [crosstalk 00:00:12:37].

Katie Allred:

We had like, 100 people in this online small group for Dave … Because it’s financial peace. The thing is, if it was anything else, like if it was a study on David, we probably wouldn’t have had 100 people in it. You know what I’m saying? I mean, I would love to study David and I have. But it’s just funny, I think it’s because of money and people don’t know what to do with money. And they’re very nervous about money right now.

Katie Allred:

I just heard some crazy statistic about how a ton of people have just gone into poverty in the last couple of months. And so Dave teaches the opposite of that, like … How do you stay afloat? And so if there’s 100 people back in March, right when this thing began, who wanted to learn about how to be financially free, I can guarantee you there’s 200 people now. There’s 100 people that were there and then there’s 100 more people.

Katie Allred:

Can you do other things with that, knowing that these people had this felt need, right? Like the Smart Money, Smart Kids or retirement planning. Going more in depth about specific things with a biblical mindset would be amazing. Even having business groups … A lot of people started doing all these side hustles while we were doing Dave Ramsey. They were actually like, selling a ton of Facebook stuff, and I don’t know. Doing all sorts of stuff on Facebook Marketplace trying to get out of debt.

Katie Allred:

And I’m like, well, what if we took it to the next level and did a business 101 group in our church, right? And we shared, how do we start a business online or something like that. Anyways, I think it’d be great. So those are some thoughts about how you can keep your small groups connected.

Kenny Jahng:

Love it, love it. Well, that about wraps it up for today. Katie, our time is up for the episode. We are going to actually dive into another topic next time that we get together, Katie. I’m actually really excited about that one. It’s basically going over a question that we get a lot also, because we always promote, your church should have a Facebook group.

Katie Allred:

We’re a Facebook group.

Kenny Jahng:

And people are asking, what type of Facebook group? And so next episode, we’re going to talk about the five types of Facebook groups your church can start today. We really think that’s going to be a great episode, hopefully you’ll return for that. But in the meantime, now that we’ve got your ear here, we’d love for you to just like this podcast episode, put in a review for us, please, and share this with somebody else that actually could use it.

Kenny Jahng:

Because this is one of those things that, we are hearing feedback that once people actually go through some of this content that they actually are using it to share with their senior leaders and other leaders in the church. And it’s helping to make their job easier, convincing people to execute some of these strategies that we’re sharing with them. So anyway, smash that like button, leave a comment for review and share it with a friend.

Kenny Jahng:

And Katie, it’s always great to be with you. Hopefully everybody here is going to join us in our Facebook group. If you haven’t been a part of our Facebook group, you got to … Katie, why don’t you share with us as we close out, how people could find us on Facebook?

Katie Allred:

Yeah, you can go to churchcommunications.com/group, and you can also go to Facebook and just search for Church Communications. We have about 27,000 people in there today, and that’s in 2020. Who knows how many we have in 2022, when you might be listening to this. But yeah, looking forward to having you there.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Church Communications podcast with Katie Allred and Kenny Jahng. If you liked our show today and want to learn more, you can join our Facebook group with over 25,000 church leaders. Simply search for Church Communications on Facebook. And if you liked today’s episode, please consider subscribing and leaving us a review. It’s the most impactful way you can help us reach more church leaders and equip them to become better communicators for the church.

Speaker 1:

And finally, don’t forget to check out our website at churchcommunications.com. Thanks for listening.

 

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