What’s really a win in your small group ministry? What are you really going to call success? Have you ever actually declared a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)?
I‘ve seen plenty of statements like:
- We want to be a church of groups: helpful but really more of a philosophical aspiration.
- We want to make disciples who make disciples: good concept and an important aspect of what a win would be, but also lacks some important ingredients.
- We want to connect people in groups of 6 to 10 where they can grow in Christ, love one another, and further the work of the Kingdom: this is a version of Willow Creek’s small group ministry mission statement in the 90s. Lots of carefully selected ingredients. Still misses an important aspect in my opinion.
Here are the 5 non-negotiables that define true small group ministry success for me:
I’m beginning to form my own statement that incorporates the ingredients that must be there; the non-negotiables. Here’s what I have so far:
To connect far beyond the average adult weekend worship attendance in an expanding network of groups where members are cared for and urged to grow; leaders are identified, recruited, developed and cared for; by coaches whose primary role is to care for and urge to grow small group leaders.
Full Disclosure: I’m not a very good wordsmith. This statement has what I want in it but it probably too long.
Here’s how I unpack the statement:
- far beyond the average adult weekend worship attendance declares that our objective is not some or even most of our adult attendees. Because most church’s weekend adult worship attendance is really only a percentage of all the adults who attend, shouldn’t our objective be to connect all the sheep? Not just the average number who are in the room? See also, What Percentage of Your Adults Are Actually Connected? and Life-Change at the Member Level.
- in an expanding network of groups declares that the number of groups in our system must be growing. If we want to connect far beyond the average weekend adult worship attendance, we’re going to need to start lots of new groups. Adding new members to existing groups is not a strategy that leads to more people in groups. See also, New Groups Lead to a Church OF Groups and 5 Keys to Starting New Groups. Lots of New Groups.
- where members are cared for and urged to grow declares that the member experience isn’t just social. The optimum environment for life-change is still a small group. At the same time, a group will often be nothing more than a social club without intentionality. None of us want that. See also, Skill Training: Design Your Group Meeting for Life-Change.
- leaders are identified, recruited, developed and cared for declares the anticipation and expectation of growth and care. The reality that whatever we want to happen in the lives of the members must be experienced first by the leader should never be forgotten or overlooked. See also, The End in Mind for an Effective Coaching Structure and Life-Change at the Member Level.
- by coaches whose primary role is to care for and urge to grow small group leaders declares how our leaders will be developed. Again, if we truly want the members of our groups to be cared for and urged to grow…the leaders of our groups must have that experience first. See also, How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.