My daughter signed up for an archery class last summer. It was just a beginner class to see if it was something she would like. She came home from the first day and announced to her mom, “I think I’ve found my sport!”
What did she love about it? For her, it was easy to evaluate success or failure. Think about it. Archery has a clear target; you either hit it or you don’t. It’s a sport that provides instant feedback on how well you are doing.
The same should be true for our groups model. We have to define our picture of success with as much clarity as possible. If your groups strategy is fuzzy, people are unsure of the target they’re aiming for. But, when a clear picture of success is defined and communicated, everyone has a better chance of hitting the target.
If you and I sat down over coffee, you could probably tell me what you hope to see in your groups and the stories that you want to hear from the people who lead them.
Here are a few questions to help you clarify your target:
- What are the stories you want to hear from your group leaders and members this time next year?
- Think of the people in your community that you are trying to reach. If they get connected into a group, what do you hope they will experience?
My guess is that your answers had something to do with helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus. Next, I would challenge you to be more specific:
- How do you want them to grow?
- Do you want them to connect relationally?
- Do you want your groups to be a place where people grow in biblical knowledge?
- Do you want your groups to provide care for one another?
- Do you hope they will connect and build community outside of the formal meeting time?
- Do you expect them to serve together inside and/or outside of the church?
As you answer these questions, begin to identify how your group leaders will facilitate this process and what role the entire group plays. There are several ways to answer these questions; you need to decide what works best for your organization so you can communicate clear wins to groups and leaders. There are few things more important when designing a groups model than determining the wins.
Finally, once wins have been defined and groups are up and running, celebrate them! Share stories about people who are modeling the behavior you want to see. Remember, what is celebrated is repeated. Use every outlet of communication to keep the expectations and wins out in front. People will begin to learn what is expected and what a healthy group can look like. Over time, you will develop a culture where everyone is aiming for the same target.
Our friends at Live A Better Story wrote this post. Live A Better Story provides a strategy for effective adult small group ministry. Try it for free for a limited time! Download the 6-week “Story of My Life” study here.