How to Follow-Up: After Your Meeting

Online small groups are your church's new normal. 

I have led these types of groups for over a decade. The average time a member spent in a group was 9 months. This is roughly the same amount of time most sessions for small groups last within a church's calendar year. If you place online small groups on the same level as your in-person small groups, you can set the stage for success.

Now for the topic of this lesson: How to Follow Up (aka: Now what?)

You will have three main tasks to accomplish as a small group leader after your meeting ends. Each of these three objectives will be in alignment with your overall small group systems structure and will further support the mission of the church as a whole, and the communities they are building.

  1. Add your group's data into the church's database.
  2. Take the conversation online via private social media platforms.
  3. Coordinate your next "__________" within the church management system platform.

Let's discuss this more in detail.

  1. Immediately after your online small group concludes, take your notes and attendance into your church’s database. That will help your small groups leadership properly track members, prayers, etc … Your group is not an island, but a part of a larger collection of groups following Jesus. It’s important to pulse in and make sure everyone is on the same page and tracking together. Some platforms like Planning Center and their People app will allow you to do these things in a branded experience.
  2. Find a place for your group to communicate online. While some groups choose text messages, platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and GroupMe offer better tools and threads than text. While the average person only downloads one app per month, it makes a lot more sense to ask your group to see how they would prefer to communicate as a group between meetings, and make sure your group conversations stay central to that app. In addition to these third-party tools, your church app may have the potential to group people together into a private group. This enables your group members to have a central point for all church information and makes the “come back” much easier on the user. Apps like Tithely, Planning Center, and Subsplash are all quality apps that allow this function.
  3. In addition to a centralized app for group communication, as the leader you will want to figure out how to use email to your advantage. Email allows you to send and track opens and downloads, and is still the most important communication tool decades after its inception. Because every person has an email, you should leverage this to send out group homework ahead of time and to communicate all pertinent information in advance. Your church may also allow you as a group leader to communicate with your group members via church database, so look into this function before you start sending things out from your personal email account.

There are no hard and fast rules here. 

As a church, you have the freedom to decide what will work for you and your online group members. While there are best practice rules that exist (as listed above), you can try different modes of operation to see what works best for you. The main thing is to make sure your best practices are easily applied to your entire small group ecosystem, so every group is on the same page moving your mission forward in your church.

How can I help? 

I want to make sure you have all the tools you need to succeed in launching healthy online small groups. This is fun for me, so if I can encourage you or better your current system, I would gladly take time for you call. Complete the form below and we can figure out a time to discuss your small groups, and how we can launch you well into the future.