You know how there are times when you just can’t figure out what’s wrong. Something’s wrong, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it. Like you’re driving along and the car just doesn’t feel right. Or something’s just off kilter in a relationship. Or when your back gets that feeling like it could give way at any time.
Can you relate?
It turns out there are some important signs that there is something wrong with your small group system. Might have worked fine previously. Actually, might have never really fired on all cylinders. Might have even been running rough for quite a while.
Doesn’t have to. You can do something about it, you know.
Signs You Have the Wrong Small Group Ministry System
- Your percentage connected is flatlined. Whether your weekend attendance is increasing or not, a flatlined percentage connected (the percentage of your adults who are connected in a group) indicates that you’ve chosen the wrong small group system. The right system will not just make it easier to connect people. It will also be able to keep up with growth. See also, Breaking the Mythical 150% Participation Barrier and The Catch a Moving Train Scenario.
- You have trouble finding enough leaders. This is a common symptom of systems that depend on selecting new leaders from the usual suspects. Once your congregation is larger than about 250 adults it will become increasingly common that your senior pastor and platform staff will be recognized at the grocery store and restaurants by people they don’t know. When this happens your system must be able to recruit from the adults you do not know because some of the highest capacity potential leaders will be unknown. This phenomenon is what makes the HOST strategy and the Small Group Connection strategy so effective.
- You have leaders ready but not enough interest to fill their groups. This is often an indication that there are too many options on the belonging and becoming menu (i.e., Sunday school, discipleship training, Precepts, off campus small groups, etc.). It can also be an indication that your congregation sees the weekend service as everything they need. See also,Small Group Roadblock #2: A Bloated Belong and Become Menu and Determining the Minimum Required and Recommended Dose.
- Your coaching structure does not work. This is a common symptom of bad small group ministry system. The right system will make it easier to find the right people and enough of them to adequately care for a growing number of new small group leaders. The wrong system will make it more likely that the men and women chosen to be coaches will warm and willing as opposed to hot and qualified. See also, How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure.
- Your senior pastor is reluctant to champion the importance of community. Although there are several other reasons a senior pastor may be reluctant to be the small group champion, a common reason is they don’t see your system as effective. The right system will produce the results that demonstrate the right design. See also, 5 things Senior Pastors Need to Know about Small Group Ministry.
- Your small groups deliver a sense of belonging but rarely produce becoming. Small group systems that make it easy to connect but aren’t designed to make disciples are poorly designed. See also, 5 Keys to Building Small Group Ministry at the Corner of Becoming and Belonging and Would You Rather: Connect More People or Make More Disciples?
- Only a small percentage of your new groups continue meeting after they’re launched. This design flaw is a leading indicator for flatlined percentage connected. Systems that struggle to launch and sustain new groups need an immediate overhaul. Like a rocket launch, if massive energy is expended on the launch but the rocket’s orbit can’t be successfully sustained, there is a design flaw that must be corrected, See also, 5 Steps to Sustaining the New Small Groups You Launch.
Image by SteFou!