3 Keys To A Successful Pilot

We’ve seen our share of small group initiatives. At my 125 year old church, LifeBridge Christian Church, I’ve been a part of a variety of group initiatives that connected people to community but often lacked the true heart of what we hoped would happen; real transformation.

Over time, this has produced a cynicism in our staff around community and the role that small groups play in spiritual formation. And I get it, how many “burst group” initiatives do we need to try before we see sustained energy around gathering in authentic, purposeful, and missional community?

Enter Rooted; a very different approach to group life that delivers real results.

While we were eager to see results in our church, we knew that getting the right people on board at the right time was going to make all the difference. Our pilot process consisted of these three things:

  •  Start Small: Pilot the experience before you do an all-church launch. We like to see big change happen quickly and it took many conversations and the cost of time to justify taking a slower approach, but it was worth it.
  • Start Internally: Have your staff go through it first. If we never saw another result out of Rooted, this step was worth the time and investment for what we saw God do in our staff. I’ll never forget seeing our Executive Pastor hold up his cardboard testimony at the celebration reading “skeptical” on one side and “expectant” on the other.
  • Start Right: Watch God build momentum through stories of transformation. It doesn’t matter how long your church has been around, seeing Jesus transform lives never gets old.

The success of Rooted is what caught our attention but it was the pilot process and the transformation we saw in our team that made all the difference.


Sean Badeer is the Connections Pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, CO. He is passionate about Jesus, people, guitars, and loves investing in the next generation of church leaders. He and his wife Averi are Nebraska natives who are living the dream in Colorado with their dog Kanye.