Open enrollment – why your group should adopt this practice immediately

Mondays on the blog are always book excerpts – a few paragraphs from books that are focused on leader-cccSunday School and small group ministry. Today’s post is taken from a book I had the privilege of co-writing with friends David Francis and Allan Taylor. The book is focused entirely on the subject of evangelism – sharing Christ through our groups and group ministries. It’s called Leader: Creating Commissioned Community and is the third in a series of books we’ve written on the 3 roles of group leaders. You can pick up a copy by clicking here.

Evangelistic, outward-focused groups have adopted numerous practices. Here from our new book is a short excerpt on Practice #4: Evangelistic, outward-focused groups practice open enrollment.

I (Ken) was recently reminded by a friend and colleague of ours, Dwayne McCrary, of the importance of enrolling people in groups. He reminded me that enrolling people in Bible study is an essential action that many groups have abandoned. I began thinking about the group I teach, a group of empty nest adults, and wondered if our process for enrolling people could be strengthened. The wrong question to ask a guest is, “Would you fill out this information card?” The right question to ask a guest is, “May I enroll you in our Bible study group? You are not joining the church. You are simply giving us permission to pray for you, and keep you informed about fellowship and ministry opportunities of the group.” Groups that practice what is known as “open enrollment” literally enroll people in the group any time and any place – not just when the person visits the group Bible study time. Groups that practice open enrollment ask for a commitment the first time the guest visits the group or before they ever attend.


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