I often get a good conversation going when I write about the small group connection strategy or the HOST strategy (two small group strategies that seem to include high risk). Comments always include things like, "How do you know the people who are hosting a group aren't ax murderers and adulterers?" Or, "How can you be sure the people who are chosen to lead the connection group are people your elders would approve as leaders?"
In reply, I've often said, "There is no problem-free small group model, system or strategy. Every small group strategy comes with a set of problems. Wise leaders choose the set of problems they'd rather have."
The truth is, every strategy that seems safe also come with a set of problems. Problems included in safe strategies include things like:
- Can't find enough qualified leaders
- Aren't multiplying new groups fast enough
- Difficult to match members with available groups
My suggestion? Know that you can program for growth or control...but not both. If you're stuck, if your small group ministry isn't thriving, it is most likely because you've designed a system that feels safe and you haven't acknowledged the fact that the factors you believe guarantee safety are actually obstacle that prevent growth.
I love this line from David Chrzan*, "You can have growth or you can have control. And you have to decide how much of each you want.”
Are you so focused on safety that you've programmed out exponential growth?
Image by Stathis Stavrianos
*I've also heard this line associated with Rick Warren.