About six months ago, a friend of mine wanted to get the local men together for a light-hearted football (soccer) game on Sunday mornings. I turned up for the first time last week (!) and found he had gathered a regular core of around 12-16 men who would turn up each week, out of a larger pool of players who would try to come when their schedule permitted. I realised that there were several lessons to take away for our Missional Community.
How did he build this momentum? For the first few months, he really struggled to get enough players for even a five-a-side. But he had a very simple approach that worked:
- a clear invitation – you know what to expect (a friendly kick-around), the benefits (fun, fitness, friendship), the commitment (an hour early on Sunday morning)
- consistency – the time slot was regular and consistent. You could plan on it happening
- repeated approach – I received his weekly email about 30 times before finally summoning up the energy to go!
- personal enthusiasm – he kept encouraging me to come and saying how much fun it was
- viral effect – he actively encouraged players to spread the word to their friends
It made me think: as a Missional Community, do we have a clear invitation as to what we do and why we do it, a predictable consistent rhythm, repeated approaches to invited our friends along, an enthusiasm in explaining what we do, and the courage to ask our friends to think about who they know that would find us of interest? The “Sunday morning football” model has stuck itself in my mind as a simple way to remember how to grow something. Hope it helps you too!