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The “Hub” Principle

I want to share something with you we are seeing in our small group ministry right now at the Summit Church. Something I didnt anticipate but nonetheless am learning alot from. Hey, nobody can anticipate everything right?

We are in a season of significant population increase as a church right now. One facet of this growth is that people are now coming in increasing numbers from areas of the Triangle where we do not presently have a strong small group presence (2 or less is a weak presence in a 10 sq. mile area). We’ve tried planting groups in these areas but for some reason we couldn’t pin-point they haven’t taken off.

Over the past 6 months however we are making in roads into these previously “un-grouped” areas. We are seeing groups in these areas quickly (2-3 weeks) grow to 30,40, in one case 50+ people. Why now? What is going on? One common factor seems to run through each of these situations: the group leader is proactively making their group a hub for building the church community in their area of town. These leaders recognize they are not just a small group leader, but a catalyst for seeing our church move from big audience to strong community. Right out of the gate, week 1, they are talking to their group about planting new groups. They may have 20 people show up but guess what, they are telling people to invite more! So here are some things I’m working through to help us harness this energy we are seeing. let’s call it the elements of the hub principle:

1. A Hub leader is SOLD on the vision of his/her church. Not just “in agreement with” but waving the banner of the local church frantically calling any who can hear to get on board with them.

2. A Hub leader has an entrepreneurial spirit. They don’t know how they are going to solve the “seats” problem, and that excites them. Yes they bang their heads trying to figure it out, but doing so energizes them. Knowing they are a critical part of a movement is exhilarating and freeing to them.

3. A hub group MUST vocally agree to remain open to newcomers from the onset, otherwise the group will close off almost instantly and slowly shave off numbers until it reaches 10 or so. The drop-offs will likely not get re-connected to another group. Fighting the “no vacancy” mentality will remain a challenge for the hub group.

4. A hub group will likely not remain a hub group forever. We are seeing that most group leaders cannot carry this momentum indefinitely and that is ok with us. Actually, it is healthy to have a time to rest after a season of such growth. Even as the church continues to grow and the need to plant more groups is there, it will be important for the pastor overseeing a hub group leader to help find the next “hub” leader in an area so the present one can move into the regular pace of group life (at least for a season). Otherwise this great leader will likely experience burnout and you could lose them all together.

5. A hub group is fun. Yes it may be overwhelming but it seems like almost everyone in these groups, even at 30+, really like being a part of what is happening in these groups. It is critical for the people who plant groups out of a hub group to seek to retain this spirit of fun and excitement in the group plant. Those that do are most likely to become the next hub group in an area.

Ok, those are some observations and they are pretty raw still. Much more processing to be done here. Any thoughts?

I attribute a big portion of this to figuring out what I am going to call the “hub” principle for lack of a better term.

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