Archives For health

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I attended the ReGroup conference at North Point this year. I decided to post some of the notes. To see all of them, click HERE.

Introduction

How do we know if our ministries are working? Is it stories or is it statistics? Yes. Stories and statistics are not mutually exclusive. The measurements that we track help us tell the story of our ministry…about what has happened, what is happening, or what will happen. They help us know if we are “winning.” Measurements matter, so we measure what matters.

I. Where stories and statistics intersect

A. “Story” people and “statistics” people

  1. Stories engage the heart
  2. Statistics engage the head.
B. As a church, we are both organism and organization.
  1. Organism without organization is chaos
  2. Organization without organism is lifeless

II. Involve the right people

A. Establishing measurements must be a collaborative effort.

B. Establishing measurements requires diverse perspectives.

  1. Ministry involvement offers the perspective of ownership.
  2. Manager involvement offers the perspective of oversight.

III. Leverage best practices

A. Tie to the strategic

  1. Vision (life is better connected, which is why they measure “connection”), mission (to lead people into a growing relationship with Christ, which is why they send out a survey 2x/year to people in groups), and strategy (to create environments where people can grow, which is why they track the number of groups and the number of people in groups) must drive all measurements
  2. For each area of the organization, measurements must be developed around a clear win and critical factors of success. They measure 4 things: group participation, leader apprentice (for future growth), leader retention, and leader training
B. Tips on the tactical
  1. If you can’t or won’t change something, then don’t ask for feedback
  2. When relevant, use rations 100% of the time. This makes it easy to compare over time.
  3. Track over time to establish targets. You have got to have trends.
  4. Don’t marry your metrics.

IV. Follow up the right way

A. We don’t make decisions based on measurements alone.
B. We do…
  1. Open conversations. We believe the best, and don’t assume the worst.
  2. Start explorations
  3. Plan ahead…use numbers to look forward
  4. Benchmark standards
  5. Celebrate success. Don’t just focus on gaps.

Conclusion

The church is people and every one of them has a story. Our measurements must always be complemented with the stories of the people they represent. But stories, like numbers, can be manipulated. Therefore, it is not one or the other. We must walk the path between the ditches of the lifeless, organization-only mentality and the chaotic, organism-only approach. This is wise and skillful leadership; this is where sustainable growth is found. What you manage shows what you value.

 

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Measuring new small group health

Ben Reed —  September 12, 2012 — 7 Comments

When a group leader launches a new small group, they’re curious. They want to know if they’re going to have a successful group. They don’t know if their group is going to stick, if people will come back, or if they’ll take steps of faith together.

How do you know if your new small group is going to “work”? How do you know if they’re going to stick together and grow and have dynamic stories of life change?

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image credit: iStockPhoto user Daft_Lion_Studio

Is it that you have solid biblical discussions right off the bat?

Is it that for the first few weeks everybody shows up?

Is it that they’ve already started talking about the group serving together?

Is it just that sense of “peace,” that fluffy feeling in your stomach, that you sometimes get?

I submit something different. I saw the #1 marker of success in the small group that my wife and I lead, and I saw it last night. How do I know we’re going to have a successful group?

They stayed at our house until almost 11:00.

And we started at 6:30.

Relationally, we’ve already made deep connections. When we say, “Amen,” we’re not done. Our group isn’t defined by our study alone. Our group isn’t defined by the fact that we meet on Tuesday nights. Our group isn’t defined by our life stage or our kids’ ages. Our group is defined by significant relationships, built around the stories God has written with our lives and the story He’s writing with us together as a group.

We’ve built authentic community quickly. It just took us a few weeks, but God’s woven us together beautifully. We’ve made a priority out of getting to know each other at a level deeper than the surface. And it’s working. Late into the night every Tuesday night.

If your group hangs around after you say, “Amen,” you’re doing something right.

Without significant relationships, your group won’t last. Mark my word.

 

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I have a Starbucks “Black Card.”  It’s supposed to give various perks, one of which, from day 1, was free refills.  Until today.  I asked for a refill, gave the card to the cashier, and she said, “Do you have money loaded on this card?”  I said, “I don’t need money loaded on it…the refill should be free.”  She said, “Nope.  Not on this card it’s not.  You need a different card for the refill to be free.”

Starbucks is supposed to be the king of consistency.  A Hazelnut latte should taste the same in Belgium as it does in coffee mecca (Seattle).  They should look and feel the same wherever you are.  Consistency, and brand management, help people to feel “at home” when they go to a Starbucks that’s not their regular shop.  But when that consistency is broken, and that which used to go along with the Black Card changes, things no longer seem as…well…consistent.

A while back, we had a small group that was really struggling getting people to show up.  They had been meeting for 6 months, and had moved from 18 folks to 8.  The leader and his wife were incredibly gracious hosts, gifted in ministry, lovable, and fully bought into the mission and vision of Grace (our church).  I sat down with the leader to try to troubleshoot.  As I talked with the leader, and other group members, we came to the same conclusion.  Here’s what was happening.

The group leader was gifted in teaching, and had great ease in front of people.  He was also incredibly busy with work.  That deadly combination led him to not work on (or lead his group through) any kind of curriculum (not that every group needs to have a curriculum, but every group should have a plan).  In short, from week to week and month to month, he wasn’t taking his people anywhere.  Instead, he would show up each week and just start throwing out thoughts and questions randomly, relying on his gift of gab and natural ease in leading people.  This led to frustration as the group members never knew how to prepare for their small group time.  They didn’t know what to think through, what to read, or what questions to be prepared to answer.  The group members never knew what to expect, and never knew where the group was headed.  Trust was never built, and the group fizzled out.

While it’s not vital that your group utilize a curriculum, it is vital that you take your group somewhere.  With no understood goal, it’s impossible to know whether you’re “winning” as a small group or not.  If you have no idea where you’re taking your group, now’s the time to figure that out.  Don’t wait another day.  Begin praying now, and talking with your group through it.  Then consistently work to accomplish that goal.

Without consistency, people don’t know what to expect.  Consistency allows trust to be build.  Trust encourages the group to speak truth into each others’ lives.  Speaking truth into each others’ lives spurs growth in godliness.  And a group growing in godliness is a healthy group.

How are you building consistency into your group time, without allowing things to grow stale?

 

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A Healthy Small Group…

Ben Reed —  March 30, 2010 — 4 Comments

I recently said this on Twitter:

So many problems in life could be solved by a healthy small group.

The responses I received really made me think about what components go into producing a “healthy” small group.

A “healthy” small group is one that accomplishes “the win” for your system.  Which means that a healthy group at our church may look a little different than the one at your church.  And that’s ok.  Step 1 is defining “the win.”

But there are certain things that “winning groups” do, right?  Do you encourage those things?

Here are a few that I’ve come up with for our system.

A healthy small group…

…stirs your heart to action.

…helps remind you who you are in Christ.

…helps you realize the all-encompassing nature of the Gospel.

…pursues unity.

…is full of people taking steps of faith…together.

…helps you realize the fullness of Grace.

…helps remind you that the troubles in this life will one day be over.

doesn’t wait until the group meeting to speak encouragement to one another.

…shares group responsibilities with each other.

…relies on each other when needs arise.

…isn’t satisfied with surface-level prayer requests.

…serves others.

…serves each other.

…has fun together.

…laughs together.

…gives people safe space to explore their faith.

…is a safe space for non-believers.

What would you add to the list?

 

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