One of the 10 assumptions that shape my small group strategy is that there are no problem-free strategies, systems or models. Instead, every strategy, system and model comes with its own unique set of problems. Wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have.
And that assumption begs the question, "What problems would I rather have?"
So what are the problems I'd rather have?
4 Problems I'd Rather Have
1. Less certainty about the qualifications of new group leaders.
Every time I talk about allowing anyone to pick up a HOST kit or how group leaders are chosen by group members at a small group connection I'm immediately barraged with questions about how we can entrust group leadership to people we don't really know.
"Aren't there times when using these strategies leads to the wrong person ending up leading a group?"
Yes, there are times but they are extremely rare and our coaching team does a great job of mitigating this risk. And most importantly, you'll never hear us say, "We can't find enough leaders."
Bottom line: We'd rather have this problem than not enough leaders to connect unconnected people.
2. Relying on volunteer coaches to develop and disciple leaders.
I believe Carl was right about span of care and that "everyone needs to be cared for by someone and no one can care for more than (about) 10."
That means I will never have enough paid staff to truly care for the leaders in my small group ministry. And that means if the leaders in my small group ministry are going to be cared for in a way that enables and empowers them to care for the members of their groups...I will have to rely on volunteer coaches to do it.
Bottom line: We'd rather have this problem than limit the number of leaders we can truly care for.
3. Delegating discipleship to a lower common denominator.
I believe discipleship is a very personal thing. The primary way Jesus made disciples was by being with them.
Discipling the men and women in our congregation (and crowd) will primarily happen when they are close enough to the discipler to be discipled. This means it can't be something that is limited to what a pastor can do or a high capacity volunteer can do.
Discipling the men and women in our congregation (and crowd) will primarily happen when they are close enough to the discipler to be discipled. This means it can't be something that is limited to what a pastor can do or a high capacity… Click To Tweet
Discipling the men and women in our congregation (and crowd) must be something that can be done by the people closest to them. And the further from the core the discipler is the less certain we can be about the content of their discipleship.
Bottom line: We'd rather be able to make more and better disciples than just better disciples.
See also, How to Make Disciples in Small Groups.
4. Depending on less qualified volunteers to do the work of the ministry.
Since the role of a pastor is to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (see Ephesians 4), we need to spend more of our time equipping and less of our time doing.
This means that volunteers will have to be able to deliver whatever we want to happen in the lives of the members of our groups.
This really means that whenever we find ourselves doing the work of the ministry we are limiting the potential scope of the ministry.
And the wider the scope needs to be in order to care for your congregation (and crowd), the more we will have to depend on less qualified volunteers.
Bottom line: We'd rather be able to meet the needs of a growing congregation (and crowd) than limit care to what our staff can do.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.