5 Areas You Must Tweak with Your Small Group System

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I got a great question recently and knew you’d want to get in on the answer.  You might even want to suggest something different or argue with me.  Any way you slice it, this is a great topic.  Here’s the question:

What are five areas you believe every church body should be continually tweaking with their small group system?

That is a great question!  Here’s my take:

  • First, you ought to have a well-developed understanding of the business your small group ministry is in.  I’ve written about this before, but the short version is that you’ll never know if you’re succeeding if you don’t know what you’re trying to do.  This should be a stable concept, but flexible on the edges.  In other words, you need to know the kind of person you’re trying to produce but you might emphasize different aspects this year (I’ve written more on this in The First Question Every Small Group Pastor Must Answer).
  • Second, you ought to know how you’re doing at what you’re trying to do.  Once you’ve determined the business your groups are in, you can predetermine what it will look like to succeed in that business.  You’ll be tempted to make this a purely numerical exercise.  Don’t give in to that.  It’s not a bad idea to build in some numerical elements (i.e., a win is moving from 40% of our adults in groups to 55%, a win is adding another 30 groups using the HOST strategy, etc.), but it shouldn’t be limited to numbers (I’ve written more about this in The Second Question Every Small Group Pastor Must Answer).
  • Third, I am a firm believer in the idea that whatever you want to happen at the group member level will have to  happen in the lives of your group leaders first.  In other words, if you want your members to feel cared for…that will only happen if your group leaders feel cared for and see how to do that for their members.  If you want your group members to feel prayed for, your group leaders will have to experience that first.  That means you will always need more leaders of leaders (You’ll find a lot more about this in my Top 10 Articles on Small Group Coaching).
  • Fourth, if you want your small group system to be pervasive…it has to be part of the daily conversation of your whole leadership team and that begins with your senior pastor.  Integrating personal stories along with live and video testimony into every service is so critical.  Knowing that your people only come once every three weeks is really important and makes it even more critical that you’re talking groups every week (You’ll find more about this in Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion).
  • Fifth, what would you put for #5?  Or what would your 5 be?

Thanks to @jasonarredondo for a great question!

Want do you think?  Have a fifth area?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Danny Buzzard on May 8, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Great question and discussion. As I see it, Mark, you’ve identified goals, measurements, actions/behaviors and marketing. For the fifth, I would say connection systems, processes or methods.

    We are continually trying to be more effective at connecting people to existing groups and create new groups organically as well as refining our connections style and process and host launches. The work is never done in this area. It’s like a parent trying new things until we find something that works.

  2. Mark on May 11, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Great insight! Thanks Danny! I definitely like your thinking. Some might argue that these are aspects of “how are you doing at what you’re trying to do.” Still, this is great! Thanks for jumping in.