I was recruited to lead the groups ministry of a growing multi-site church less than two years ago. This was after being a student pastor since the year Mulan came out in the movie theater (that’s code for a long time ago). This was new territory for me. As I look back on these last 18 months, there were 4 not- to -miss -steps for this brand new groups pastor and I want to share them with you.
Step 1: Read but don’t change anything (at least not yet). There were 4 books that helped shaped my thinking around small group ministry. Each book was a little different and could cause some strategy whiplash if you know what I mean, but all must reads in my mind. Here are the books I’d give you if you were to ask me where to start as a brand spankin’ new small group point person.
Sticky Church by Larry Osbourne
Small Groups with Purpose by Steve Gladen
Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits
Amplified Leadership by Dan Reiland
Step 2: Get to know all your current group leaders ASAP. Get to know who is who as quickly as possible (and don’t default to email!). Meet face to face. This means lots of Starbucks runs or “find me by the welcome area so I can meet you” invitations. Trust me. To not be able to ID one of your own leaders face to face is as cool as it being tax day (in the United States) and the IRS’s direct pay page not working (totally happened). Be cool. Know your people.
Step 3: Measure What Matters. What matters gets measured. Figure out what matters to your senior leadership team. What does success look like for your role? Then figure out a way to measure it. Create a dashboard to track those things. Whether it’s group attendance, group retention rates, or how many people are in your leadership pipeline, you need to know the numbers.
Step 4: Find all the cool kids and
stalk I mean follow them. There are some great churches doing some creative things when it comes to group promotion, group displays, group sign ups, etc. Find them. Follow their work on Social Media. Join a huddle. Join a Facebook group for small group point people. Attend an SGN event like The Lobby. This will help you get new ideas, make friends, get free resources (people love to share their stuff) and spark your own creativity.
Whether you’ve been in group ministry for 4 months, 4 years, or since the first time in forever, what advice do YOU have for those in their first 18 months? Share in the comments.