The small group movement in local churches continues to grow rapidly in the U.S. and around the world. The number of small group books, curriculums, blogs, and resources seems to be growing just as fast. With the ever increasing focus on small groups, it’s easy to lose sight of your small group model. And if you’re new to small group ministry, the number of group models is greater than ever.
With so many small group models to choose from, how do you pick what’s right for your church…and, just as important, how do you create alignment with your model to ensure everything is working together to take you to your desired destination. I believe a good model includes three things:
1. Mission – Begin with a clearly defined purpose for your small groups.
2. Methods – Create methods (strategies) that will help you achieve your purpose.
3. Measurements – Develop a dashboard that helps you gauge and measure success.
In another post, I wrote about Developing Your Ministry or Organizational Model where I more thoroughly explained these three ingredients. In this post, I’d like to give you a personal example of their application and help you create alignment with your model.
Our Model: Our small group ministry has a clear MISSION: To foster authentic relationships by connecting people with people, God, and ministry. Our METHODS to accomplish this mission include four practices: Eat together, learn together, pray together, and help together. We pulled these practices from Acts 2:42-47 as we studied the ingredients that contributed to Biblical community in the early church. Finally, our MEASUREMENTS include a series of questions that help us determine if we are accomplishing our mission through our methods.
Alignment: Our model isn’t perfect and we certainly don’t view it as the “right” model. It’s simply the model we’ve chosen based on who we are and what we believe God has called us to do. The key is that our model includes the three ingredients: Mission, Methods, and Measurements and each of these ingredients is carefully aligned. You can view a chart that shows this alignment here: Connection Groups Model.
The questions in our model are not the only things we measure, but they do show the connections in the overall model.
There is no perfect small group model. But I do believe that whatever model you choose needs to clearly define these three elements. When you understand your mission, adopt methods that will help you achieve your mission, and define measurements to help you gauge mission success, everything you do will be in alignment.
Question: What is your small group model?