In the last blog post, I explained that having open groups allow us to be outwardly focused and help group members grow spiritually as they serve, share the good news and disciple others. If you didn’t have the chance to read it go back and check it out here!
So here are a few more reasons to keep our groups open:
Open groups are stronger groups.
Over the last few years, we have lost a number of groups, specifically those with fewer people. After these losses, I began to study why groups stop meeting. Here are some of the typical signs that a group may not be sustainable:
- They meet off-campus.
- They are relatively small, usually (originally) only 4-6 couples.
- They are closed, either intentionally or by lacking outward focus so that the result is the same.
When some or all of these scenarios are true, a group functions well for a while but...
THEN it happens! One couple gets a job transfer to another city. Another couple has parents in a nearby town with a health crisis, so they turn their attention to that and rarely attend anymore. Another couple attends sporadically, and some nights there are only two couples at the meeting. On some rare occasions, it is just the host couple.
There they sit. Discouraged. Too late to ask the group members to invite their neighbors and friends.
The next day they call me to let me know the group is disbanding, leaving the group members without a place to have a community centered on sharing the name of Christ and learning from God’s Word.
When your group is open, you are allowing God to lead the way.
Personally, I like the philosophy of “Let’s find ways to love and serve everyone God sends our way.” There are creative ways to accommodate more people. Never stop looking for solutions and never stop searching for more people.
When a group gets too large, the most logical solution is to move toward multiplication or branching, just like a family tree. That involves part of the group going out to form a new Small Group, thus creating more room for people in more groups. Only a small portion of our current groups would exist today if not for the group multiplication process.
Multiplying a group isn’t an option when we haven’t been developing leaders. Multiplying a group isn’t an option when we haven’t prepared group members emotionally for multiplication. Multiplying a group is difficult when the group has been closed, fits comfortably into their space, and has no vision to look outwardly.
Therefore, it’s critical to work on all these things from day one in the life of the Small Group.
Group members should know from the beginning that we love people, reach people and expand the kingdom in and through our groups.
To be continued!