Five Clues That Reveal Your Small Group Ministry’s Best Next Step

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Apparently Solomon was right.  There is nothing new under the sun.  The issues and challenges that you face have been faced before by many.  Why do they feel like original and unique problems?  I’m not sure.  I do know this, when I talk with small group ministry point people, I find the same issues and challenges over and over.

See what you think.  Recognize yours?

  • Demand exceeds supply: We can’t find enough leaders to absorb the number of people who want to join a group.  If you have a stack of sign-up sheets and not enough leaders to satisfy the demand, one of two key issues are probably in the mix: (1) you have set the leader requirements too high, or, (2) you need to rethink the way you’re recruiting leader candidates.  Next Steps: Read Leader Qualifications: Raising the Bar, Lowering the Bar, or Open Bar? and  Problem-Free Leader Identification and Recruiting.
  • Treading water.  Experienced group leaders drop out as fast as we add new group leaders.  This is almost always a reflection of what I call a “balance of payments” issue.  Leaders are investing blood, sweat and tears, and going season after season without anyone investing in them.  Anything other than treading water will be extremely unlikely without the infusion of encouragement and care made possible via a mentoring or coaching relationship.  Next Steps: Read Coaching FAQ: Essential Ingredients of an Effective Coach and How to Add Value to Experienced Small Group Leaders.
  • Participation levels are stuck: Percentage of adults in a small group vs adults attending our worship services is flatlined or decreasing.  Percentage connected is very often an indication of an unseen barrier.  Incremental change rarely offers the promise of breakthrough.  Instead, if you want to break through a barrier it almost always requires an exponential shift.  Next Steps: Begin looking at strategies that exponential results.  Read the Exponential Power of a Church-Wide Campaign.  Remember, the X-Factor is Near the Edge.
  • Can’t connect beyond the usual suspects: Everyone you’re connecting reflects the same maturity level.  You’re only connecting the Close to Christ or Christ Centered maturity level (to use Reveal’s typing scheme).  Or you have no trouble connecting the Exploring Christ or Growing in Christ levels, but nothing beyond.  Next Steps: Focus on gathering an understanding of your true customer.
  • We’ve tried that before: Of course, the other way to say it is “that doesn’t work here.”  Let me just point out that it’s much more commonly true that “that” hasn’t been implemented correctly, whatever “that” is.  Instead, an unreasonable facsimile is what’s been attempted.  Next Steps: Read Four Questions that Will Inspire Breakthrough Thinking and The Paradox of Expertise.

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

Image by Timmy Gunz

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