In Sticky Church, author and pastor Larry Osborne makes the case that closing the back door of your church is even more important than opening the front door wider. He offers a time-tested strategy for doing so: sermon-based small groups that dig deeper into the weekend message and tightly velcro members to the ministry. It’s a strategy that enabled Osborne’s congregation to grow from a handful of people to one of the larger churches in the ...
In Sticky Church, author and pastor Larry Osborne makes the case that closing the back door of your church is even more important than opening the front door wider. He offers a time-tested strategy for doing so: sermon-based small groups that dig deeper into the weekend message and tightly velcro members to the ministry. It’s a strategy that enabled Osborne’s congregation to grow from a handful of people to one of the larger churches in the nation—without any marketing or special programming.
Sticky Church tells the inspiring story of North Coast Church’s phenomenal growth and offers practical tips for launching your own sermon-based small group ministry. Topics include:
Why stickiness is so important
Why most of our discipleship models don’t work very well
Why small groups always make a church more honest and transparent
What makes groups grow deeper and sticker over time
Sticky Church is an ideal book for church leaders who want to start or retool their small group ministry—and velcro their congregation to the Bible and each other.
Larry Osborne is a teaching pastor at North Coast Church in northern San Diego County. North Coast is widely recognized as one of the most influential and innovative churches in America. Osborne speaks extensively on the subjects of leadership and spiritual formation. His books include Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, and Spirituality for the Rest of Us. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Oceanside, California.
Part 1 The Sticky Church Advantage 11
1 Sticky Church 13 Why the front door is highly overrated A parable lots of people know but not many understand Why stickiness is so important The purpose and format of this book
2 Who Are These Guys? 19 Why it might not matter if your church stinks at marketing Small leaks, big messes, and church growth Come and see evangelism The 80 percent factor Scalability and slow growth
3 How I Learned about the Importance and Power of Stickiness 24 Killing the dream - and why it was one of the best things I ever did Tools or sheep?
Pastors who don't like Christians Why marketing too early can actually keep people away
4 Why Stickier Churches Are Healthier Churches 30 Why closing the back door can make the front door seem bigger The tell-tale mark of a raving fan The high price of bait and switch How one seeker church made sure no one brought any seekers Part 2 How Small Groups Change Everything 39
5 Velcroed for Growth 41 Why most of our discipleship models don't work very well How people grow Velcroed for growth Why the New Testament is absolutely silent about small groups
6 How Small Groups Change Everything 47 Critical mass-why it's so important and what it takes to get there The Holy Man myth The Holy Place myth Why empowerment needs a platform
7 Still More Ways That Small Groups Change Everything 53 Why small groups make a church more honest and transparent Why they always increase the level and practice of spiritual disciplines The very best gift we can give a child or teenager
8 Making the Message Memorable: How Sermon-Based Small Groups Made Me a Much Better Preacher 59 A bunch of stuff that didn't work and the onechange that did The simplest way to increase attention and note taking Why my sermons are always worth talking about Four stages of knowledge and why lots of people tend to bail out before they're finished
9 Making the Message Accessible: How Sermon-Based Small Groups Made Us a Much Better Church 66 Reeling in the marginally interested Why it doesn't matter why someone joins a group Why even the unmotivated will spend an hour preparing for their small group Facilitators and teachers The death of idiot questions Part 3 Sermon-Based Small Groups 73
10 Why Some Groups Jell and Some Don't 75 Why size matters Comfort zones The "me too" factor The magic number when attendance becomes predictably sporadic Getting the right people in the right group The difference between Christian unity and close friendships Schooling fish Why people are like Legos Why friendly people can leave new people feeling frustrated New groups for new people Why dividing to grow might not be such a good idea
11 Flies on the Wall: What Happens When a Sermon-Based Small Group Meets 82 Why there is no such thing as a "typical" sermon-based small group Refreshments and personal updates Why it's vitally important that everyone answers their homework questions ahead of time Three types of questions Why silly questions can be important questions Why you always want to look at some passages that weren't mentioned in the sermon Prayer Freedom to digress Worship Service projects and socials
12 Overcoming the Time Crunch 91 Why most of us have just two time slots to work with The difference between selling out and adapting wisely Why cutting the competition is so important What Henry Ford taught me about small groups Cutting too much too fast can be hazardous to your ministry Hamstringing the competition Making leadership manageable Why summer breaks are essential for long term success
13 Determining Your Primary Purpose 100 Determining your primary goal What happens when everyone uses a different measuring rod Alignment What we can learn from Wall Street and LA Fitness Making disciples Staying healthy The need for warmth The dangers of mission creep Measuring success
14 Entry Points and Escape Routes 108 My first small group The dreaded weasel factor Entry ramps and escape routes Why ten weeks is nearly magical How groups grow deeper What happens when life happens What happens when it doesn't Aligning sermon series and small group schedules-why it's no big deal
15 Why Dividing Groups Is a Dumb Idea 115 What most church leaders think Why those who are actually in a small group see it so differently Small groups and steroids Another look at Legos What the military taught me about small groups Mayberry in San Diego Fresh blood Hiving versus dividing
16 Finding and Developing Leaders 123 What to look for Who to avoid The best fishing pools The worst fishing pools Why you don't want to ask for volunteers How to scare off potential leaders
17 Training Leaders 134 Why staff members and lay leaders see training so differently Bite-sized training Time shifting Why turning down the intensity won't harm your leaders or your groups-and why it might help What every rookie needs to know The one thing every veteran leader needs to know
18 Why Cho's Model Didn't Work in Your Church 140 Why most of our small group models don't work very well The Korean connection Coming to America A nagging question, a surprising answer Why my parents won't walk into the Buddhist temple Prayer Mountain, military coups, and powerful pastors What a mobile society, extended families, Armenians, and mutts have in common-and what they don't
19 Before You Start: Five Key Questions 149 What a poorly aligned set of tires can teach about vision and ministry Who are you trying to reach?
What are you trying to accomplish?
How do these two match up?
The funnel test Mentoring, education, and apprenticeships Speed modeling Acknowledgments 159 Appendixes
1 Writing Great Questions 160
2 Sample Sermon Note Sheet and Study Questions 165
3 Sample Growth Group Covenant 170
4 End-of-the-Quarter Evaluation Form 173
5 Leader Training Topics 176
6 Leader Responsibilities 178
7 Host Responsibilities 180
8 A List of New Testament "One Anothers" 183 Study Guide: Follow-up Questions for Each Chapter 188 Notes 201