Top 10 Signs Your Small Group Ministry Is Schizophrenic

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Schizophrenia is no laughing matter. It's serious business.'s a perfect way to think about ministry that needs therapy or medication.

Here are the top 10 signs your small group ministry is schizophrenic:

1. You do the same thing year after year and expect different results.

You remember what Albert Einstein said. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again...and expecting different results." See also, Ministry Design Determines Results

2. Your strategy changes every time you attend a conference or read a new book. Idea fatigue and shiny object syndrome are the names for this illness. Trust me. When you choose a system you need to commit to it for 3 years. See also, How to Choose a Small Group System or Strategy.

3. Your preferred future looks like the blackboard in A Beautiful Mind (or Dr. Gene Scott, depending on your theology). Simple almost always wins the day. Again, Albert Einstein said "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." See also, Start with the End in Mind.

4. You try to please everyone and become all things to all people at the same time. People pleasing only muddies the water. The most effective ministries narrow the focus and then think steps, not programs. See also, Narrowing the Focus Leads to a Church OF Groups and Think Steps, Not Programs.

5. When you look at rows you see circles. Calling a row a row is the essence of truth-telling. Looking at along row that curves and seeing a circle is wishful thinking. See also, Life-Change, Circles and Rows.

6. You change your mind about who can host from week to week (or service to service). Watching Saddleback's team gradually move from only members can host a group to their current arrangement has been a good lesson in reasoned approach. Understanding that there is no problem-free is essential. Wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they'd rather have. See also, Problem-Free Leader Identification and Recruitment and Customized Leader Requirements and Benefits.

7. You've implemented a 52 week leader training course and can't find enough quality leaders. The idea that there is a correlation between the height of the leader bar and the quality of the candidate is a false premise. Although counter-intuitive, the reality is that accepting volunteers for leader training coupled with providing members more than occasionally sets up commissioning leaders who can't fill their own group.  See also, 5 Keys to Finding More Leaders.

8. You've chosen David Platt's Radical for a church-wide campaign and couldn't understand why neighbors wouldn't come. Let's be clear. There's nothing wrong with Radical. The problem is in choosing a study that calls for serious commitment and not addressing the fact that only those ready to come and die will get on board. See also, Does What You're Promoting Matter to the Right People?

9. You became a church OF groups right after you began calling everything a group. If this happened in one happened in 10,000 churches. Changing what you call them is delusional. See also, Essential Ingredients of Life-Change.

10. You call your staff meeting a group so your senior pastor can be in a group. See also, The Role of the Senior Pastor.

What do you think? Have one to add? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Image by Erica Minton

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  1. Andrew Mason on December 11, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Lol, ouch on #9 and #10 and yet so common! 🙂

  2. markchowell on December 11, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Right there with you Andrew!


  3. Mike Mack on December 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Hahaha …. I think I could tell at least one story about each one of these. Hey, you think that could be a conference session? Thanks for a good laugh today.

  4. markchowell on December 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    That is the truth! And it could be a conference session!