I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve learned a bunch about the church. One such thing is the importance of a successful small groups ministry.
I’m certainly no expert, but I would say there are four “fundamentals” that every church should understand and embrace:
- Need – Who are the potential members of our groups and what are their needs?
- Plan – How are we going to meet those needs?
- Systems – What are the systems, processes, and methods for helping people to find their way into a group?
- Measurement – How are we doing?
I’m just applying the Performance Cycle to this particular area of ministry.
I talk to so many who don’t connect the Church Management Software they’re using to the growth of their various ministry areas. They view this tool as a “contact database” only. If they need to send an e-mail or get someone’s phone number, they go to the “database” to send it or get it.
Aside from having the right leader in place, having good Church Management Software has proven to be a key for us. We’ve seen experienced steady progress in our small groups ministry, and much of this success is thanks to good “systems” that have helped people find and get involved in a group. And, regular “measurement” has helped us to understand how the ministry is doing.
Thanks to Church Community Builder we’ve implemented a pretty tight contact and follow-up process that helps us to ensure nobody gets missed. We have multiple points of follow up in addition to providing a user-friendly, congregational facing method for finding a group. Check out my post on “People Processes” for more details on “workflow” and “process queues.”
On the measurement side of things, we use Church Community Builder’s attendance tracking to measure the number of people who attend a group each month. Unlike many other churches who report the number of people who are listed on a group roster, we report on the number of individuals who attended their group during the month. They are completely different measures. The “butts in the seats” measure, as we call it, is a much more difficult, but useful, measure.
For obvious reasons, measuring the number of people who attend small groups each month is the way to go. Is it difficult to motivate group leaders to take and enter their attendance? Yes. But it’s worth it!