How To Care for Group Members in a Larger Group

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What do I do about the group of 25 who love each other, have a great time, and won’t birth?  The group is full of potential leaders.  They’ve been together for four years.  And they won’t even talk about splitting into two groups!  What can I do about that?

I get that question a lot.  I bet you’ve asked that question…or one a lot like it.  So what do you do when you’ve got a group that’s larger?  Should you be trying to mandate birthing?  Should you just look the other way?  What should you do?

I want to encourage you to think about this challenge a little differently.  There are several parts to the problem.  Here’s what I see:

  1. A group of 25 is hard for one person to genuinely care for.  That’s why we say that the target span of care is about 10.
  2. In any group the five most dominant personalities do about 80 to 90% of the talking.  If you have 10 people in a living room, the five most dominant personalities do most of the talking.  If you have 25…same thing.
  3. It’s easy for potential leaders to hide out in larger groups.  They’re comfortable in the group.  Their friends are all there.  It’s too easy to stay a consumer.

There may be other issues, but those are what I see as the big three.  So what can be done?  This is where a tweak in what you call a win for your group leaders is important.  Here’s what I mean:

  • A win for a group leader is when larger groups sub-group for discussion.  This can be done several ways.  Simply number off 1, 2, 3.  Guys in the dining room.  Gals in the living room.  Draw straws.  Any way you can get into groups of 6 to 8 (or smaller) is a step in the right direction.
  • A win is when span of care remains 8 to 10 even in a larger group by developing sub-group leaders.  This is a little further in the direction of genuine care.  Not just leading a discussion, but actually taking on caring for a few.  Making the calls.  Being available.
  • A win is when a larger group takes a small group vacation, separating into five smaller groups and inviting neighbors and unconnected friends during a church-wide campaign.  Often this experience is what helps potential leaders move from consumer to contributor, a change that you can’t force.

The big idea here is that larger groups can work very well with an intentional strategy.  I’ve found that it’s much more productive to help leaders of large groups learn to sub-group for discussion and develop sub-group caring strategies than it is to mandate birthing at 14 members.  It’s also very strategic to use the small group vacation idea.  I’ve found nothing better when it comes to multiplying groups during a church-wide campaign.

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