Do you find yourself launching plenty of new groups but watching too many of them die before their time? There are some important reasons why that happens. And there are some steps you can take to make sure it doesn't happen.
Here are my 5 reasons new groups are often short-lived:
1. You're not choosing the right launching study.
The right launching study is critical for the short-term survival of new leaders and new groups. Choosing a study that is too challenging, has too much required leader preparation, or is simply not what new members will find engaging or satisfying leads to the premature demise of many, many new groups.
Choosing the right study to launch new groups is an important key to help this fragile new life off to a really good start. Minimal leader preparation allows the new leader to focus their attention on helping new members build healthy relationships. The right topics (from the perspective of new participants) make conversation seem easy and spontaneous. The right topics easily promote conversation that doesn't pit one point of view against another.
The right launching study is critical for the short-term survival of new leaders and new groups.
2. You're not encouraging (or requiring) leaders of new groups to begin with a co-leader.
Not encouraging (or requiring) leaders of new groups to begin with a co-leader is often deadly. Not only is it deadly, but death often comes too quick as the new leader's expectations aren't met. Keeping a new group going is challenging and often too hard for one person to pull off. Beginning life with someone else (other than a spouse) to help shoulder the challenge makes it much easier.
Not encouraging (or requiring) leaders of new groups to begin with a co-leader is often deadly.
3. You're not giving your new leaders a coach from the very beginning.
Not giving your new leaders a coach from the very beginning may need to classified as a crime! A crime? Really? Yes. For two very important reasons:
- Having a seasoned veteran leader walking alongside, especially in the first 6 to 12 weeks, helps new leaders tackle some of their toughest challenges. Having even a short weekly conversation about what's working and not working in their new group helps new leaders quickly adjust to ensure the health and viability of their new group.
- Almost more importantly, new leaders working with a coach from the beginning ensures that once they no longer feel the need for a coach they will have established a solid relationship with someone a few steps ahead of them spiritually (doing TO and FOR them whatever you want the leader doing TO and FOR their members).
Not giving your new leaders a coach from the very beginning may need to classified as a crime!
4. You're not giving your new leader a study to do next.
Not giving your new leader a study to next (right after the launching study) puts their new group in serious jeopardy. Why? New groups often aren't strong enough to survive the challenge of a discussion, debate or disagreement about what they should study next.
Trust me, every new group has someone in it that will either suggest a study that is simply to hard or challenging for the new leader to lead or one they've recently heard plugged by Oprah Winfrey.
New groups don't yet have the connective tissue they will soon have. Giving them a study to do next (that is similar-in-kind to their launching study) will help them build strength of connection that will soon help them choose for themselves what to do.
Not giving your new leader a study to next (right after the launching study) puts their new group in serious jeopardy.
5. You're not helping your new leaders and their new groups begin with a load-sharing mentality.
Not helping new leaders and their new groups begin with a load-sharing mentality often leads to leader discouragement as everything falls on them to do. Everything, from getting the house ready to providing refreshments, and from calling or emailing reminders about the meeting to being ready to be a gracious host, often becomes quickly overwhelming.
Far better to set new leaders and new groups up to win by helping them understand from the very beginning that everyone can help in some way. Creating a simple set of expectations that is shared at the very first meeting will help new leaders make what can be an awkward moment more satisfying for everyone.
Not helping new leaders and their new groups begin with a load-sharing mentality often leads to leader discouragement as everything falls on them to do.
- 5 Steps to Sustaining the New Groups You Launch
- Skill Training: 5 Simple Steps to Starting a New Group
- Skill Training: 10 Keys to a Great First Meeting
- Skill Training: 6 Keys to Keeping Your New Group Going
- 8 Commitments for Small Group Leaders
Image by Stacey