Offer Small Groups Trimesterly, With Start and End Dates

Next Level Church offers trimesterly small groups to account for the community’s snowbird culture.

Next Level Church in Fort Myers, Fla., considers itself a church of small groups, not one that simply has them. The church with a weekly attendance of 2,800 people exists in a snowbird culture, where much of the population comes in winter and leaves in summer. To solve the problem of a transient culture, the church offers different Connection Groups three times a year—in spring, summer and late fall. Having a start and stop date allows people to jump in and out of groups without feeling guilty for not committing.

Next Level offers interest-based groups, to let people connect with others who share their passions. To encourage its members to join, Next Level holds a rally weekend at the start of each group trimester, where each Connection Group leader is available to meet potential new group members. Next Level also publishes a magazine about its Connection Groups, where it tells the stories of life change and lists every group and leader.

“Producing a 32-page, full-color magazine three times a year screams to regular attenders: ‘This is important to us!’” Lead Pastor Matt Keller says.

ONLINE: Adapted from an article that appeared in the May/June 2013 issue of Outreach magazine.

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