Recently Rick Howerton was asked a challenging question by some small group pastors and Rick responded by sending the question on to a number of small group pastors in order to get a broader perspective. Ready for the question? It might be yours, too!
They asked, “What are the markers for a healthy small group ministry. That is, when a small group pastor does her/his evaluation of the ministry, what are the list of things that that small group pastor should be measuring to determine how effective the ministry really is?”
Isn’t that a great question? I thought you’d think so. I also was sure you’d enjoy reading the responses. Really good stuff from a number of the sharpest minds in small group ministry. I got Rick’s permission to use the idea and asked each of the participants if they’d be willing to share with you. All of them said “yes!”
Here’s what Mike Mack had to say:
Great question. At Northeast, we use 7 hallmarks of a healthy group (below) and we evaluate our groups (using a Zoomerang Survey) at least once a year on these 7 attributes. I’m trying to keep this simple. If the groups are healthy, then our groups ministry is healthy. What really matters is the fruit. If our groups are growing, reaching out, and reproducing, then our groups ministry is healthy, but I really can’t (and don’t even want to try) to control those things. So I focus on trying to get our groups to focus on these 7 things.
- Christ-Centered: Jesus is the real group leader. Life Groups meet in his presence and power and for his purposes. (Matthew 18:20)
- Healthy, Growing Leaders: The Life Group Leader is growing in his or her faith by being involved in daily disciplines such as Bible study and prayer. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
- Core Team: The group is led by a Core Team of 2-4 members who share leadership. No one leads alone. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
- Goals & Plans: The group has a written “Action Plan” that includes a mission, goals, expectations, ground rules, etc. (Proverbs 16:3)
- Connecting with One Another in Authentic Biblical Community: The group meets regularly & consistently, does life together outside of meetings, and regularly prays for and ministers to one another. Group members participate in a role (shared ownership). (Acts 2:42-47)
- Growing in Christ: Group members are intentionally being discipled. The group engages regularly in Bible study and application. (Colossians 2:6-8)
- Serving Others: Christ’s mission (Matthew 28:18-20) is the Life Group’s mission. The group regularly prays for their lost friends and is sharing their faith with others. The group is intentionally open to new people. The group is serving others together and/or individually (or has a plan to do so if the group is new). (Colossians 4:5-6)
The Result (a.k.a. “fruit”) of a Healthy Small Group is a group that is …
- Reaching Out
Hope this helps!
Mike Mack, Connect Minister at Northeast Christian Church, Founder of SmallGroups.com.
Thanks Mike for a great answer! If you’d like to find out more about Mike’s ministry, take a look at his blog at Small Group Leadership.
This is part two of a series. You can read part three right here. You can read part one right here. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of the remaining articles on Measuring Small Group Ministry Effectiveness you can subscribe to my blog right here.