5 Ways Your Small Group Ministry Is Being Throttled

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BottleneckDid you know that a number of factors can throttle your small group ministry?  Did you know that there are certain factors that can limit your ministry impact?

A Brief Example

In some ways it’s like what I found out this week from the company that hosts my blog.  For several days in a row between 6 and 7 a.m. I kept getting an error message when I tried to log in to the editing dashboard.  Concerned, I tried to check the blog itself only to get an error message that essentially said, “You are out of business.”

What was causing it?  My blog was being throttled due to too much traffic and too much traffic related issues.  If you’ve tried to read it and been blocked…I’m sorry!  Hopefully, it will soon have those kinks worked out.

Now Back to Small Group Ministry

What are the factors that might be throttling your small group ministry?  Here are a few:

  1. Someone other than the senior pastor attempting to champion small group ministry.  Delegating the champion role to a staff member (even the small group pastor) or key volunteer screams, “This isn’t important.”  If you really want to connect beyond the core and committed, you need your senior pastor as a small group champion.  See also,Your Senior Pastor as Small Group Champion Leads to a Church OF Groups.
  2. Too many programs offering next steps out of the auditorium.  If an unconnected person has to think about which program offers the best next step…you’ve got too many on the menu.  See also, A “Plated Meal” Leads to a Church OF Groups
  3. Failing to start new groups.  Too many small group ministries prioritize the membership needs of existing groups over the opportunity to engage new leaders and leverage the power of new connections.  See also, New Groups Lead to a Church OF Groups.
  4. Failing to tell life-change stories.  Nothing is more compelling to an unconnected person than a story about authentic life-change.  If you’re not telling them in sermons, in testimonies, on the website and in print…you’re missing the opportunity to inspire many to put a toe in the water.  See also, Gather Stories as If Lives Hang in the Balance.
  5. Inconsistent promotion.  If you’re only talking about the importance of being connected once or twice a year, you’re missing out on the least connected people (who are infrequent attendees).  If you want to connect beyond the usual suspects, you need to talk about grouplife all the time.  See also, Narrowing the Focus Leads to a Church OF Groups.

What do you think?  Have a question?  Want to argue?


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About Mark Howell

Mark Howell is the founder of SmallGroupResources.net, committed to helping churches launch, build, and sustain healthy small group ministries. He's also the Pastor of Discipleship Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church.  Having served as small group pastor at Woodlands Church and Lake Avenue Church, Mark is a seasoned veteran with experience in both the contemporary and the traditional church. In addition, he served as a consultant with Lifetogether and as a host for the Purpose Driven Campaign Coaching programs. You can read Mark's blog at www.markhowelllive.com or follow him on twitter.

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