Online tools have aided in our group formation process.
Over the years, we’ve surveyed people who have not connected into long-term community and asked a number of questions with the hope of modifying our methods to enable more people to join groups. During that process we learned many things about our model, but three things stood out:
- A number of people wanted to study specific topics.
- People expressed concerns about the 12–24 month commitment necessary to be part of a Community Group.
- People were in between Community Groups and needed a short-term option.
With those two things in mind, we developed Short-Term Groups, which meet together to discuss a particular topic. These groups form three times a year through an online system that allows people to choose a group by topic, area of town, and night of the week.
The online tool that we developed to aid in this process is now also used to fill Community Groups that are still open following GroupLink, Short-Term Groups, and other groups in our Care ministry. We are not sure if online connection will ever replace the success that comes from meeting people in person, but it has been a helpful addition to our ministry model.