Healthy groups grow and multiply. Unhealthy groups are a strain on you as a leader and your whole ministry. I wrote Small Group Vital Signs out of my own experience as a small group minister assessing the health of our groups and then implementing a process for developing the health of our groups. This process helped our groups grow spiritually, numerically, and in their likelihood to be missional and to multiply. Today I am working to help other churches assess and then improve the health of their groups as well.
Whether you lead a small group or the groups ministry in your church, it is vital to know the condition of your flock (Proverbs 27:23). If you want your group or groups to be healthy and effective in carrying out Christ's commission, you must start by "confronting the brutal facts," as Jim Collins puts it. I developed a Small Group Health Assessment that is available FREE on the TOUCH Outreach Ministry website. A hard copy version is also available in Appendix E of Small Group Vital Signs.
Here is a 10-step process you can implement that will help your groups become healthier and grow:
1. If you have not done so already, read Small Group Vital Signs yourself and make notes about important aspects you want to utilize. Click on the book link to purchase your own copy.
2. Have every member of your Small Group Leadership Team (and coaches) read the book and think through implications for your ministry.
3. Personally take the FREE Small Group Health Assessment for the group you lead and have your team do the same for theirs.
4. Meet with your leadership team to discuss plans for improving the health of your groups.
5. Have your group leaders take the free online assessment. Send them this link via email or put it on your website: http://www.touchusa.org/free-small-group-health-assessment. This survey is absolutely free, no strings attached. I’ve found that a couple reminder emails and/or calls/texts really help to increase the percentage of participation. Provide incentives for taking the assessment (like free coffee!), and utilize your coaches to make follow-up calls.
6. Ask your leaders to email you (and/or their coaches if in place) their scores/responses. This will help you determine how your groups are doing as a whole and will help you coach leaders individually. Put all this in a spreadsheet to gather total scores in each area and as a whole. (This is a great job for your assistant or an administrative volunteer in your ministry!)
7. Buy a copy of Small Group Vital Signs for each leader and their core teams/apprentices. As you’ll see, very good quantity discounts are available from the TOUCH website.
8. I can consult with you and your leadership team to help you implement a Healthy Groups Process, and I can also be available for coaching calls with you and your team. To go along with this consultation and/or coaching, I will make downloadable documents available to you for implementing the Healthy Group Process. Email me to discuss this in more detail.
9. Bring me to your church to lead a Healthy Groups Training Seminar (weekend retreat or Saturday seminar) to equip your leaders to lead healthy groups. Email me to discuss training.
10. I can also train your coaches, either in person or via Skype, how to coach leaders toward health and growth. This is a vital part of the plan!
Please let me know how I can help! I’m excited about what this simple process can do for groups, group ministries, and churches!