5 Faulty Assumptions about Small Group Ministry Impact

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Courtesy Wan Mohd

You know how kids sometimes believe that if they close their eyes, you can’t see them?  That’s an assumption they eventually grow out of.

Do you have an assumption or two about small group ministry impact that you need to grow out of?

I was imagining the Family Feud set-up when I wrote this.  See yourself standing at the podium.  “What are the top 5 faulty assumptions about small group impact.  100 people surveyed.  The top 5 answers on the board. Survey says…”

Here are 5 faulty assumptions about small group impact:

  1. The optimum environment for life-change is a small group.  While this is a very popular notion, it’s only true when the small group environment is designed for life-change.  It is much more common for groups to never move beyond being about connect unconnected people.  If you want groups to be about life-change…intentionality is an essential ingredient.  See also, Design Your Group Meeting for Life-Change.
  2. The small group champion role can be delegated.  NOT!  If you want to build a thriving small group ministry, there is no workaround for a senior pastor who insists on delegating the small group champion role.  Period.  There is no question that in churches where a vibrant and thriving small group culture exists there is a senior pastor who walks the talk and talks about it all the time.  See also, The Real Reason Saddleback Connects So Many in Small Groups.
  3. Coaching is primarily about problem solving and improving technique.  Nope!  “Coaching” small group leaders is nearly 100% about doing to and for (and with) your leaders whatever you want your leaders to do to and for (and with) the members of their groups.  And this is one of the main reasons that retroactively assigning a coach to an experienced leader is so deadly and almost never works.  Existing leaders know for sure that they do not need a coach.  If they needed a coach, they would have need a coach in their first 90 days.  See also, Coaching FAQ: How Much of Coaching Is about Technique and Small Group Ministry Myth #5: Only New Small Group Leaders Need a Coach.
  4. Requiring leader training as a prerequisite ensures a better member experience.  The truth is that the only thing requiring leader training as a prerequisite ensures that you will always have a shortage of qualified leaders.  Requiring leader training in advance sets in motion a system that does one of two things: (a) hand selecting prime candidates (which indicates that you think you already know the best candidates) or (b) advertises an upcoming leader training course and takes volunteers.  Either way this doesn’t ensure a better member experience.  The only thing that even comes close to ensuring a better member experience is a coach working with a leader doing to and for (and with) whatever you want the members of your groups to experience.  See also, Small Group Ministry Myth #4: High Leader Entry Requirements Ensure the Safety of the Flock.
  5. Unconnected people will respond because “it’s good for them.”  Listen, unconnected people don’t respond to “what’s good for them” anymore than children eats their vegetables because it’s good for them.  If you are banking on that, you are relying on a faulty assumption.  If you want to connect unconnected people, you must shift your thinking and focus on understanding the things that appeal to them in their current state.  What are their hopes and dreams?  What keeps them awake at night?  What do they long for?   When you understand those things you will finally begin to understand how to help them take first steps into authentic community.  See also, 5 Things You Need to Know about Connecting Unconnected People.

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

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