A million-and-one things can go wrong at a NASA launch pad. Preparing for launch is a strenuous process. The shuttle itself can take at least 5 years to create and hundreds of engineers and specialists to put in thousands of work hours. Then, it takes a whopping eight hours to move it to a pad. There, it will remain for a month undergoing final tune-ups for flight. Minutes to launch, the entire station (and offices around the country) countdown the seconds to lift-off. There are literally millions of things involved to get a 500,000-ton spacecraft into the sky.
LifeGroups are nowhere near the intensity level. But, they do require some strenuous prep work. A lot of things happen in an ordinary LifeGroup gathering. It usually has a role, announcements, prayers, teaching, refreshments, seating, greeting, arranging, and notetaking. But know this: Your first LifeGroup gathering is not an ordinary LifeGroup gathering. It is the first one (or even, first of firsts). People are gathering for the first-time in this room for this purpose with these people. There is little ordinariness. If you try to do this first thing by your lonesome, it will crash and burn. You should employ what I call a Launch Team.
A LifeGroup Launch Team is a small group of people who will temporarily commit to a number of specific responsibilities to make sure the first few gatherings go smoothly. When things are up-and-running, they can wing themselves out of their role and onto something else. They exist to simply get things off the ground. Just like it sounds.
I suggest you gather your Launch Team together for an informal meeting at a host home. There, you should accomplish a number of things over food and fellowship. Make it fun. Make it interesting. Make it happen. Here are three things you should do at this meeting. (We will talk about who you need for your team later.)
Chart the Course
Your team needs to know what they are signing up for. No one agrees to hop on board without knowing where the ship is sailing and how. Furthermore, knowing what to expect is like fuel in the jetpacks. They need to hear and see what lies ahead. A clear framework for launch will help your team imagine themselves at work. Chart the course the best way you know how. Help them see the importance. Show them their significance. Point the pathway.
Assign the Roles
Charting the course is the first step. Next, you need to assign roles. Launching a LifeGroup will require specific people doing specific things. Some of those things require special abilities that only some of your team can perform. Have those on hand before the meeting. The other roles can be up for grabs—so people have options. Also, remember this: people desire to feel like they are needed. No one should be without responsibility. Assign their roles.
Allow the Input
Although you have most of the foundational stuff in place, allow your team to provide input. Give them time to reflect and respond. Make sure they can ask questions without fear of being rejected. Help them see that their opinions matter. Maybe you could put out some challenges and open the floor for resolutions. This will draw out your team’s gifts and solidify their investment in the LifeGroup. Follow their ideas. Make some of them happen. You will be glad you did later.
Being at the front-end of a long train is exciting. Your Launch Team will pioneer something new, something big. What they do now will count forever. And, it will make sure that the liftoff goes smoothly.