A Big Experiment
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 is available HERE
We're always thinking and strategizing about how we can make NYM and our two main environments (Nitro and Fusion) irresistible to students. Our desire is that, every year, we would have more students attending and oving the experience they have with us, our staff and our regularly attending students.
We think the best way for this to happen is by invitation. That's why we encourage our students to live Pi2 lives: to Pray, Invest and Invite in the lives of the people in their circle of influence who are far from God.
So, since we rely on student invitations in order to grow, we are constantly thinking of ways to make our environments better suited to a new person's perspective and sensitivities. But not only that, we're thinking of ways to make it easier and less intimidating for OUR students who are inviting! We want to remove every barrier so its easy for those who come regularly to go through the (sometimes) frightening step of inviting their friends to come with them to Fusion or Nitro.
Until this point in recent NYM history, our Sunday Night program schedule has typically involved fun stuff up front, some singing, a discussion of God's Word and then a transition to small groups.
We have begun to sense, however, that this small group time can be a deterrent to students inviting their friends. Due to the break down of the groups (by grade and gender) and the sensitive nature of things discussed inside of group, we have found that students are reluctant to bring friends who are just "checking out faith" into a potentially awkward, serious or difficult small group environment.
That transition to small group was, essentially, required for every student who attended. It was simply expected that, if you were present on Sunday Night, you would attend Small Group during the last 30-40 minutes of the night.
Imagine for a minute that every person you invited to come to church on Sunday Morning, regardless of their spiritual condition, interest or motivation, was required to attend your Community Group as well. Would that change the way you invite? How often you invite? If you invite at all?
That's why we are going to be running an experiment for the first 7 weeks of the New Year that will change that Small Group attendance requirement. This will only apply to High School Students in Fusion. From January 4- High School Snow Camp (February 20-22), Small Groups will be an optional addition to the end of the night at Fusion. We will be "done" at 7:00pm with all required programming, and students will be free to leave or remain in the SMC until their rides arrive.
In part 2 of this blog post, coming next week, we will explain more of the reasons behind this change and some of the details surrounding it (as well as our concerns here on NYM Staff).
We would highly encourage you to begin a conversation with your High School student about the importance of Small Groups AND inviting friends to Fusion. Ultimately, the purpose of this experiment is not to lower the attendance at small groups, but rather to increase our overall invitation rate.
There is lots more to say. So be sure to check out Part 2 of the blog series.
At the end of the day - it's just an experiment. We're cooking up as many crazy schemes as we can to make more and better here at NYM. If you have questions, please contact us, and we'll be happy to talk things through.