Launch Strategy for Primer Groups
Over the last several years we’ve trained thousands of leaders in how to begin a movement of incarnational communities in every niche and neighborhood in North America. So far, around 60,000 people have taken this seriously and we’re constantly hearing stories of conversion, cultural engagement, personal spiritual renewal, and even a few churches that began simply because they started some Tangible Kingdom Primer groups.
To help churches launch the Primers, we've created an 8 week calendar guide to creating Incarnational Community. Take a look at the guide and then study the four phases as we describe them below.
PHASE 1: CASTING VISION FOR YOUR PILOT
All movements need some ramp up time to inspire, process, and recruit people for the mission. As we mentioned in AND, each church must determine how fast to push and how many to call to this more intentional way of community. Incarnational communities are not small groups, but small groups can become incarnational communities. Small groups are typically first decision communities; by that we mean that anyone can be involved if they make the first decision to believe in God and show up. Incarnational Communities are second decision communities where the participants make a second decision to live a more intentional rhythm of Inclusive Community, Communion, and Mission together.
Thus, we don’t advocate that a church try to get everyone going at the same time. For churches where there’s been very little buy-in to missional/incarnational ministry, we’d suggest you start with a pilot of 10% of your people. Pick your top 10 percent of individuals and existing small groups, and ask them to begin a pilot that will spark a greater percentage of interest in the future. If your church has already been exposed to missional concepts and there’s more street level buy-in, you can be more aggressive; some leaders have taken their entire church through this together with great results. The timing and outcome is up to you, so prayerfully consider the percentage you want to start with.
PHASE 2: RECRUITING YOUR PILOT MISSIONARIES
By now you should have drummed up some interest in the idea of being a part of some potential pilot groups. To solidify the pilot groups, host 1-3 Incarnational Community Interest Meetings. These meetings should not be held at the church unless there are no other options. Rather, invite people to your home, or a nice restaurant or coffee shop, and make the recruitment more of a personal call. Make sure the invitation that goes out let’s them know they’ve been hand-picked for a special missional initiative and ask them to begin praying about whether this is the right time for them to dive-in. This will cause them to take it more seriously and come prepared to decide.
PHASE 3: IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
Now your folks are actually going through the 8 week Primer Process
What to provide during the 8 week process:
1) Link your people to the TK Primer Blog (opposite side of this page) or set up your own TK Primer facebook group under your existing church facebook or your specific church website frameworks. Regardless, giving them your own feedback and stories while they’re going through it is highly encouraged.
2) Consider meeting with most of your leaders around week 4-5. There’s a lot of tension that happens around this time because people are realizing the tension points. Just listen, pray over them and encourage them to lead well.
PHASE 4: DEBRIEF/COACHING Meeting.
The purpose of this gathering of all TK Primer groups and all the participants is to celebrate their experiences, hear encouraging stories, capture learning, and to give them some practical instructions for moving toward your Gathering. As well, this meeting will help you set up the Coaching Structure you will use from here on out.
During this meeting:
- Thank them for the commitment to the pilot
- Share personally what happened to you during this process
- Provide time for some of them to share their stories & tensions
- Provide framework for ongoing Coaching: Use Missional Triangle and the 3 circles sheets as a tool to track their communities over the next year.
- Encourage those groups that want to continue: After the pilots are done, some will to decide to continue since they had a great experience together. For groups that want to continue, just encourage them to keep going and use a basic 2-1-1 rhythm for each month. (2 communion times, 1 Party, 1 time of blessing and service).
- Encourage those that want to pilot again with other friends: Some people will discover that they now want to try and invite others to start a new group now that they 'get it'.
- Encourage individuals that decide to go round 2: since this also provides an immediate expansion of groups.
- For those that are done: Encourage them to reconsider starting with a new group of friends.
- Set quarterly large group coaching/encouragement time for all “leaders” of your incarnational communites.
Incarnational Community Frequently Asked Questions
Thousands of groups have now gone through the TK Primer and some common questions tend to come up. We've created a FAQ sheet that answers many of those questions. Here are a few,
- What is the difference between a small group and an incarnational community?
- What do we do with kids?
- What types of people should I invite to go on mission with me?
- How many people should we start with? When do we multiply?