Reasons people think their small group failed

Ben Reed —  February 25, 2010 — 2 Comments

The Tennessee Titans missed the playoffs (thereby breaking my heart) again this year for a number of reasons.

But it wasn’t because of the coach, Jeff Fisher.

Or the running back, Chris Johnson.

Or the CB, Cortland Finnegan.

Or the stadium.

Or the fans.

Or ESPN.

Or 104.5 The Zone.

Or Vince Young.

None of the above were reasons that the Titans missed the playoffs.

Equally, there are many important aspects of group life that don’t contribute to the death of a small group.

5 problems that don’t necessarily lead to the demise of a small group:

1. I’m the group leader, and my group members know more Scripture than I do. A small group leader doesn’t have to be the most spiritually mature person in the church.  They do need to be increasing in their love of God, and in their love of people. (Luke 10:27) But just because they can’t reel off the reference to the time when Josiah was made king doesn’t mean that their group is going to fail.  Why?  Because the goal of a small group isn’t simply increasing in biblical knowledge.  It’s taking steps of faith together.

2. I think we picked the “wrong” curriculum. A good group knows when to put down a bad curriculum.  A good group also knows how and when to change and/or throw out unhelpful questions.  If you’re a group leader, and are worried about the curriculum, don’t sweat it.  Pray, ask for wisdom, then choose a curriculum.  It won’t kill your group.

3. We just don’t have a big enough home. Our home is not huge.  It’s ~1,200 square feet.  Yet we managed to consistently pack 20 folks in for our small group meetings (which is probably too many people, but for some reason, we just kept growing throughout the life of our group).  The size of your home doesn’t lead to the failure of a small group.

4. We lost 3 couples! Sometimes, people quit on you.  Maybe they move away.  Maybe they were offended by the Gospel.  Maybe their work schedule changed.  For whatever reason, though, people will leave your group.  But that just gives you the opportunity to spend more time investing in the folks that are still sticking around…and also gives you room to invite new folks!

5. Our group leader has committed moral failure. Since small groups are not a top-down, pyramid structure of leadership, if the leader stumbles into sin (which I have seen happen…small group leaders are surely not immune from temptation), the group doesn’t necessarily fall apart.  Since responsibilities and leadership are shared among the group members, others step right in and continue leading the group.  Trust among group members has been built, so that it feels natural when another group member steps up to begin leading the discussion.

To see some factors that do lead to the death of a small group, click HERE.

Have you seen a small group survive through any of the above?

 

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Ben Reed

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Christ follower, husband, father, writer, pastor of small groups at Long Hollow Baptist Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.
  • http://www.matthewcostner.com matthew costner

    great post and insight! thanks ben.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Benlreed Benlreed

      Thanks Matthew!