Have you been completely stuck in fixing something or repairing something or assembling something and realized much later that the reason you couldn’t fix it or repair it and assemble it was that you didn’t understand how it worked?
Does this sound like something that’s happened to you?
And then later, when you finally understood how it worked, this thing you were trying to fix or repair or assemble, you slapped your head and said, “Ohhhh! I see now! I misunderstood how it worked and I was going about it all wrong!”
A few weeks ago I decided I was going to build this cool DIY light fixture that I saw on Pinterest (I know…).
Here’s a picture of it.
Now, if you’re ever over at my house, you’ll see the finished product is pretty close. In fact, it looks great!
But what you won’t see is that in order to make it work I had to add an outlet and a switch to the electrical circuit where I wanted to locate the light. I also had to correctly wire several things (the light fixture itself, the outlet, and the switch). And with a combination of YouTube videos and my handy Wiring 1-2-3 book from Home Depot I came pretty close to making it work all on my own.
The outlet worked. I felt very confidant I had wired the fixture correctly. And I did my best to figure out how to connect all the wires from the outlet to the switch and then the switch to the fixture.
And when I flipped the switch to turn on the light it tripped the breaker and didn’t work.
I felt a little bit like Clark Griswold when he couldn’t figure out, couldn’t understand, why the Christmas lights on his house did not come on when he plugged them in.
Drum roll please!
Like Clark, I went back and checked my wiring (careful every time to turn off the power to the outlet and switch). I pulled out the wiring so I could examine it. I watched the YouTube videos again (for the 4th or 5th time). I re-read all three of the related articles in Wiring 1-2-3.
I turned the power back on and tried flipping the switch again.
Drum roll please.
And it tripped the breaker.
So I called my friend Ed and asked if he could take a quick look. He came over. Turned off the power. Rearranged a few wires (very quickly, reminded me of a ninja or one of those Benihana chefs). Turned the power on.
Drum roll please.
The fixture worked. It was good.
Why didn’t it work when I flipped the switch? Easy. I misunderstood how to connect one wire. One wire of several sets of wires (outlet, switch, and fixture).
Ed cleared up my misunderstanding.
Is there anything about your small group ministry that you just can figure out how to fix or repair or assemble? It might be that you simple have misunderstood how it works.
3 Common Misunderstandings in Small Group Ministry
The best leader candidates are currently members in a group.
The best leader candidates are currently members in a group. It does make sense and you can see why this is a common understanding. It’s actually a extension of the common doctrine that you have to be a member of a group before you can lead a group. In fact, you can see how nicely this fits into an apprenticing strategy. You begin as a member. You’re seen to have potential so you’re asked/challenged to be an apprentice. And once you’re ready you’re helped to start your own group.
Does that make sense?
If you think it confirms that the best leader candidates are currently members of a group…you’ve misunderstood how it works.
A better understanding is that while it may occasionally be true, it is false more often than not. Especially when you have more unconnected adults than connected in your congregation and crowd, it is more likely that the best leader candidates are not currently in a group.
Can you see it? For example, if one in ten adults could lead a group, and more adults are unconnected than connected, it just stands to reason that your auditorium has a lot of unconnected leadership potential.
You just have to figure out how to identify them. And this is where the small group connection strategy, and the GroupLink strategy and the HOST strategy comes in.
If one in ten adults could lead a group, and more adults are unconnected than connected, it just stands to reason that your auditorium has a lot of unconnected leadership potential. Click To Tweet
Quickly adding unconnected people to open groups as you go is better than patiently starting new groups 4 to 6 times a year.
You know the dilemma. Do I ask interested unconnected people to wait until the next small group connection or other connecting opportunity? Or do I simply add them to the open group that fits them best?
This happens to you, right? You’re in the lobby after service and for the 3rd week in a row your pastor introduces you to a fairly new couple that is ready to join a small group. And you have two choices. You can tell them about the new groups that will begin right after Easter or you can ask what day works for them and what kind of group they’re looking for and match them up with an open group.
What’s the best thing to do? Where do you land?
If you think it’s better to add quickly to an open group than ask them to wait for the upcoming connecting opportunity…you don’t know how it works.
A better understanding is that unconnected people make the best connections in new groups where everyone is just getting to know one another and no cliques have formed yet.
Unconnected people make the best connections in new groups where everyone is just getting to know one another and no cliques have formed yet. Click To Tweet
The best practice is to:
- Develop a year-round connecting strategy that is never more than two to three months until the next connecting opportunity (that launches new groups).
- Focus on launching new groups.
- Train leaders of groups how to invite new members to their groups.
Calling everything a group solves the problem…
If this is your misunderstanding I don’t even need to finish the sentence.
You know the problem, though. It is the problem that exists when your belonging and becoming menu (the opportunities your church offers for connecting and growing) is too big and every ministry leader wants to be promoted equally.
It is the problem when legacy programs (with influential leadership) wants to be promoted alongside current emphases as an equally helpful option.
It is the problem when your on-campus adult Bible fellowship (that sits in rows and listens to a master teacher) wants to be promoted as one of several ways you can get connected.
What’s the best thing to do? Where do you land?
A better understanding is that trimming your connect and grow menu and emphasizing only the best next step makes it easiest to connect the largest number of unconnected people. It may be counterintuitive, but reducing the number of options leads to more connection. See also, Design Your Ministry for Results and Bad Idea #1: Let’s Call Everything a Group!
Trimming your connect and grow menu and emphasizing only the best next step makes it easiest to connect the largest number of unconnected people Click To Tweet
Are any of these misunderstandings yours?
Here’s the thing. All of us have a misunderstanding at one point or another. The key to improvement for all of us, is that we be open to discovering a better way.
You can do it.
And so can I.