6 Things Not to Say about Small Group Ministry

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Have you learned there are certain things you should never say?

For example, "What an idiot! I'd never do that." Or, "Step on it! We can make the light!" Or maybe, "I'm pretty sure I turned off the power."

There are just things you should never say.

Have you learned there are certain things that you should never say about small group ministry? Sometimes I cringe when I hear them. And sometimes I have the urge to say "ixnay on the oopid stay."

Have you learned there are certain things that you should never say about small group ministry? Sometimes I cringe when I hear them. And sometimes I have the urge to say ixnay on the oopid stay. Click To Tweet

6 things not to say about small group ministry:

1. "This is the way we're going to do small group ministry from now on."

Trust me, this is a terrible one-liner and the cause of much unnecessary frustration and confusion. Fed up with the flaws of your current system? Far better to learn to say, "This new strategy will help us take the next step in connecting people..." See also, Start with the End in Mind.

2. If you're ready to lead a small group, sign up today.

This is a recipe for disappointment. With a near guarantee that more than half of your sign-ups to lead groups will have below-the-waterline issues, it is almost never a good idea. Far better to rely on the "if you've got a couple friends" method to recruit volunteers (who will fill their own group ) or a small group connection (where the members choose a leader from amongst themselves).

3. If you're ready to step up and be a small group coach, sign up today.

This is a terrible idea!  Settling for anything less than a high capacity candidate is never a good idea. Taking volunteers for coaches is guaranteed to stack your coaching team with people who will be fulfilled in having the title but ineffective at the job itself.  See also, The End in Mind for an Effective Coaching Structure.

4. We've asked each our elders to be a coach.

Oh my...if I had a hundred dollars for every time I've heard this proposed as a viable way to build a coaching structure, I'd have a lot of money! Just because someone is qualified to serve as an elder (or any other leadership position) doesn't mean they have what it takes to serve as a coach. See also, 6 Essential Characteristics of an Effective Small Group Coach.

5. We've hired a small group pastor to be the small group champion.

Some senior pastors have a great challenge resisting this statement. If that's you...resist! If that's your senior pastor, don't let them go there. The senior pastor is the most influential person in nearly 100% of churches. The role of small group champion cannot be delegated. See also, Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups.

6. There are 3 great ways to get connected here at Community Church: Small groups, Sunday school classes and discipleship groups.

Unless you are confident that all of your options include the same essential ingredients, you need to be very careful to resist the temptation to talk about the different options as if they are the same. See also, Groups of all Kinds and the Essential Ingredients of Life-Change and What Have You Designed Your Groups to Make.

What do you think?  Have one to add? Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Image by Alberto Ortiz

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  1. David Francis on July 8, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Agree about communicating that the 3 opportunities you identify are the same. They are clearly different. In fact, for a LifeWay research project on groups, adult staff leaders were asked to identify their primary preference from these three. To make it crystal clear, the choices were small groups, SS classes, Discipleship courses. Guess if you wanted to use all “Cs” you could use an old old word for small groups–circles! Circles, classes, courses. They all can have their place. Even in the same church. They are not the same.

  2. markchowell on July 8, 2014 at 5:40 am

    I love it David! Circles, classes and courses! Thanks for jumping in here.