Ever had this happen? You’re doing a repetitive task the same way you’ve been doing it for years and then someone sees what you’re doing and tells you an easier way.
Or how about this, you’re driving somewhere you’ve been a million times and someone in the backseat says, “Did you know that there’s a much faster way?”
It’s kind of like that in small group ministry, you know. There are definitely secrets and shortcuts that will get you where you want to go faster and more effectively.
Here are 5 small group ministry secrets and shortcuts:
- There are no problem-free small group systems, models or strategies. This may not seem like a shortcut, but believe me, the pursuit of problem-free delays more ministry than anything else. Wise leaders recognize that there is no problem-free and simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have. See also, The Pursuit of Problem Free.
- If you’re having problems recruiting enough leaders, you’re using the wrong strategy. If you’re still signing up leader candidates to attend the upcoming leader training course, you are overlooking the elephant in the room. A significant percentage of leader training sign-ups (in a system where members are supplied) have below-the-waterline issues and will never lead a group. Far better to leverage preexisting relationships (i.e., “If you have a couple friends you’d like to invite, you can host a group”) or leverage the ability of members to wisely choose leaders from amongst themselves. See also, Small Group Ministry Myth #4: High Leader Entry Requirements Ensure Safety in the Flock and Top 10 Articles on Starting New Groups.
- Offering a short test-drive is the best way to engage more people in small groups. If you want to connect more of your adults to groups, shift your offer from a 13 week commitment (or a 12 to 18 month commitment) to a 6 week test-drive. Lyman Coleman was right when he recognized that 6 weeks is short enough to commit to and long enough to help people begin to feel connected. See also, 5 Things You Need to Know about Connecting Unconnected People.
- Restocking dying groups with new members is almost always a bad idea. It will seem cruel to some, but it is far more effective to teach existing group leaders and members to fill their own groups and focus your limited energy on starting new groups. See also, Skill Training: Top 10 Ways to Find New Group Members and Critical Decision: Add Members to Existing Groups vs Start New Groups.
- The best way to recruit small group coaches is to simply invite the right people to “help for a few weeks.” Inviting the right people to help for a few weeks by “coming alongside 2 or 3 of our new small group leaders” gives you a chance to see them in action. The right people will be both fruitful and fulfilled. You only want people who are both fruitful and fulfilled. Go for both. Don’t ever compromise. It’s a lot harder to get someone into a job than out of one. See also, Three Keys to a Coaching Tune-Up.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.