ActivateConventional Wisdom: People are willing to go through a multiple-step process to join a small group.

Reality: One-step sign-ups, which make getting into a group faster, easier and less intimidating, will greatly increase the number of people who decide to join a group.

We live in an “easy” culture. Compared to past generations, we have it made. We have information at our fingertips anytime of the day or night. We can talk to anyone in any part of the world with the press of a button. We have machines that wash our clothes, our dishes and our cars. We have 24-hour superstores where we can get whatever we need the moment we need it. We are used to easy. Easy makes us happy.

Easy also makes the people who attend our churches happy. The more difficulty and stress you can keep from their lives, the better. Everyone who sets foot in your church is accustomed to streamlined processes. When they walk into a fast-food restaurant, they can order a “Combo 1” and know exactly what they are going to get. When they shop on, they can go through checkout with one click of the mouse. How is this possible? Because someone did the difficult back-end work required to set up a simple system for their benefit. So how about when they show up at your weekend service and decide they want to sign up for a small group? Is that easy for them too?

As a society, for better or for worse, we have become accustomed to taking the path of least resistance whenever it is available. If we do hit resistance, our desire and will have to kick in as we subconsciously evaluate how badly we want the end goal. If that resistance trumps our desire, we back down. It’s a simple fact of current human nature. As you set up your small groups system, you can either choose to work with this fact and increase your sign-ups, or work against it and lose people in the cracks of resistance and difficulty.

One of the keys to creating a strong full-participation small groups system is to make groups easy to get into and easy to get out of. You make them easy to get into by establishing a one-step sign-up process, and easy to get out of by setting solid end times and end dates. Here, we’ll focus on helping people into groups with simple sign-ups.
Searcy, N., & Thomas, K. (2010). Activate: an entirely new approach to small groups. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.