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Friday, August 8, 2008

A church planting tip: meetup.com


I came across meetup.com a few days ago and it looks like it could be a very helpful tool for those involved in church planting -- or any church that is interested in mission for that matter. Perhaps it is even more useful if you live in the Suburbs and find it hard to meet people. You know, it's the old garage door problem!

Wherever you live this is a great website to get connected with focus groups within your community or create a brand new one. If you want to find people with similar interests and build friendships then this site is a great way to do that. Heck, why not even register your church small groups on them and make them open to the community? Isn't that the point anyway?

I love this website for 3 main reasons:
  1. There are almost 50,000 meetup groups. The screen shot on the right is from the homepage and it shows people RSVPing to groups in real-time -- very cool!
  2. When you create an event it will alert people in your area of your event. So, it does the marketing for you!
  3. People who join it know what they are getting into, namely meeting new people in a focus group.
I searched under my zip code and found the following groups that I would be interested in and they are all within a mile. This is a small sample as there are tones:
  • The St. Louis Graphic Design Meetup Group with 510 designers
  • New to the Lou with 296 new friends
  • The Saint Louis Photography Meetup Group with 214 photogs
  • The St. Louis Boardgames Meetup Group with 430 members
  • The Issues You Don't Talk About Cafe with 101 participants
  • The St. Louis Elvis Meetup Group with 74 elvis fans (Ok, so this is real, but I am not going!)
Unfortunately I cannot attend these meetups as they conflict with church events I am participating in. Go figure! But, I may well use this site to start a focus group of my own.

Check out this video below for further explanation. Go to meetup.com, sign-up and get off-line!




3 comments:

Keith said...

great resource!

Justin Long said...

In the long run, it may be better to scratch some church evens in order to better engage in community events of the kind that are promoted here... one could view the local meetups as a way for a church to become engaged in society and be salt and light. Perhaps a church could train its members in how to use the Meetup website to better understand the needs of some of its constituencies and try to figure out how to bless the community better (not just go to the groups to take them over for evangelistic purposes--something that will simply cause people to go away--but to truly be a blessing).

Matt Sweetman said...

Justin, good point. I see Meetup.com as a place for churches to publish/promote such things as marriage or parent courses and as a place to join existing groups in order to meet new people. No one should attempt to take over a group -- but simply to love and serve others. I think your idea of training people how to use it appropriately would be great.