When Small Groups Don't Work
Small Groups don’t always work. Instead of just ignoring it we need to face some questions to find out why. At times subtle changes can be made to fix an issue. While not exclusive, here are some issues I've run into that have caused some small group problems.
If we don’t overcommunicate to our students and keep a constant message to them of the importance of why they need small groups, then they won’t buy into them. When do they start? How do you sign up? Why take the time to be in a small group? All of those questions (and more) need to be answered if we want our students involved.
Poor Parent Communication
For my context I need to give my parents a 30-45 day minimum ADVANCE window on the details of small group start-up and details. If parents don’t buy into the need then 50% of my students don’t have a ride to get to a small group. I also need my parents to know why this is important to our ministry and why this is important for their kid.
Poor Guidelines from Me to Leaders
When I make a bonehead mistake and don’t clarify something to my leaders, that puts them in a hard spot, confuses students, or makes our ministry look unhealthy. I need to quickly make things right. I need to seek forgiveness, communicate directly to the right people, and get things back on track quickly.
Poor Dependency on God
Let’s face truth: If we want to see life change in our students, we need God to be God in their lives. We need to cover our leaders, students, and decisions in prayer. We need to be dependant on God's Spirit to do a transforming work in the lives of our students as we create a channel that can help build the student community.
If we really want small groups to be a strong catalyst in our ministries, we need to really think through school calendars, church calendars, and seasonal functions and be intentional with the administrative side of small groups. For me this has been one of the biggest small group boosters or disintegrators for my ministry. I can pretend that all my hard work, efforts, and energies will create superb small groups experience every year for our students and I can also be realistic. Sometimes being realistic allows me to be a better leader.