Clarifying the Win In Your Small Group Ministry

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How do you know you’re succeeding at what you do?  If we were baseball players…it’d be easy.  At the end of the game we’d see who had the most runs on the scoreboard.  Would hits matter?  Yes.  Would RBIs matter?  Yes.  What about our pitcher’s ERA?  Yes.  But would they themselves be a win?  No.  At the end of the game only one thing really matters.  Do you have more runs than the other team.

How does that relate to group life? Well…unless you’ve declared what a win is, you might be measuring (or celebrating) the wrong things.  Need a for instance?  What if you’re calling a certain percentage of your weekend adult attendance a win?  For example, you’ve got 300 adults in your average weekend worship and you’ve got 200 adults in a group of some kind.  Does that feel like a win?  Is that a win?  Might be…but also might be an instance of a high LOB (Left On Base) percentage.  What makes the difference?  What you’re going to call a win.

Here’s what I mean.  If you’re only looking for a certain percentage of adults in groups (which might be where you start), then it could be that you call this a win.  At the same time, you may get to the point where a win is not the number of groups or the percentage of adults in them but is actually something a little tougher to measure.  For example, a win might become a certain percentage of groups that are finding a way to serve together in their group.  Here are some other possibilities:

  • In the last 6 months 50 different people took a turn facilitating your 20 groups.
  • 40% of our group members are neighbors and friends.
  • 25% of our groups members are having lunch on a weekly basis with non-christian friends.
  • 30% of our groups are planning to take a six-week vacation during our upcoming church-wide study and instead of meeting host new groups.
  • 80% of our groups have taken the Purpose Driven Health Assessment and chosen a curriculum that will help them take a next growth step based on what they discovered.

The key to determining whether you’re winning or losing is to do the hard work of figuring out what really matters.  You may be at the place where you will be thrilled by adding reaching a higher percentage of your adults in groups.  That’s okay.  You may be at a place where you really want to begin looking for more, all in the interest of exposing your congregation to the activities and practices that are most likely to build authentic Christ followers.  Wherever you land the hard work is worth it.  Don’t miss that.  And don’t settle for high on-base percentages when scoring runs is the point.

Need more on the idea?  The 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner is fabulous on this concept.  I highly recommend this book.


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