Who Is Your Small Group Ministry Designed to Connect?

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Who is your small group ministry designed to connect? Have you ever spent any significant time evaluating who your small group ministry is designed to connect? Have you ever evaluated who your small group ministry is actually connecting?

What if your ministry is designed to connect a kind of person that is disappearing? What if the most likely people to connect are a shrinking minority in your crowd or community?

Did you know that the most recent Barna Group study indicated that "from 2013 to 2015 the percentage of Americans who qualify as 'post-Christian' rose by 7 percentage points?"

It's important to understand how the Barna Group measures a person’s level of irreligion. They have identified 15 metrics related to faith (see below), and "in order to qualify as 'post-Christian,' individuals had to meet 60% or more of the factors (nine or more out of 15 criteria).

Here are the factors:

  1. Do not believe in God
  2. Identify as atheist or agnostic
  3. Disagree that faith is important in their lives
  4. Have not prayed to God (in the last year)
  5. Have never made a commitment to Jesus
  6. Disagree the Bible is accurate
  7. Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
  8. Have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)
  9. Agree that Jesus committed sins
  10. Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
  11. Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
  12. Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
  13. Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
  14. Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
  15. Do not participate in a house church (in the last year)

Think about the significance of a 7% increase in just two years.

3 observations:

  • If your small group ministry is designed to connect people who already believe what you believe, your target market is rapidly shrinking.
  • If the most common people you are connecting already read the Bible at least once a week, your current customer is far different than the fastest growing segment of Americans.
  • If the majority of your small groups never connect anyone who doesn't already attend a Christian church, the fastest growing segment of your community is unreachable.

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

Image by Barna Group

I've written about this on a regular basis over the last 7 or 8 years.

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