Many churches are seeing relational cracks, lack of focus on making disciples, and intentional leadership development in the foundation of small groups ministries. Gently exposing these flaws is only the first step to repurposing your small groups to become more fruitful.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Chances are you’ve seen change to discipleship programming attempted but fail to be lasting. The organizational life cycle of even the healthiest churches are prone to create small group systems that establish a life of their own. Over time, if small groups are not engaged in disciple making from the inception, refocusing those groups is extremely challenging. The good news is churches have transitioned from traditional small group ministries to disciple making communities.
Here are three major pitfalls that cause stunt successful change. These are especially important to avoid when Transitioning Small Groups to Disciple Making Communities.
- Too much change in a short amount of time
- Shortage of leaders who really embrace the vision
- Lack of preparation
Tips to avoid pitfalls
If you are considering making this shift in your small group ministry, here are three ways to avoid the pitfalls above:
Tip #1: Reflect on the implications
Think through the implications of transitioning to disciple-making communities. There are real seen and unseen implications that you might not be able to anticipate on your own. Recruit your most engaged people to help you navigate the right way to shift in the new direction you are asking your small group leaders to take.
Tip #2: Try a pilot and learn
Seasoned leaders tend to experiment with this more often than newer leaders. Notice that I did not say older vs. younger. Experience is the best teacher. There is wisdom in testing an idea before broadly implementing it. A small pilot program is a safe place to learn to recognize pitfalls.
Tip #3: Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Communication with your key leaders and the congregation throughout the process will make the journey more attractive and more fruitful for everyone involved. The most important things to keep in mind are who you need to communicate with and what you need to communicate. The amount of change you are introducing will inform how much to communicate, how to communicate it, and how often it must be communicated.
Are coaching leaders who are transitioning small groups to disciple making communities? This series of questions will help them assess what needs to be changed and decide on action steps.
- Who can you ask to help you assess your current small group ministry?
- What is currently working in your small groups?
- Where are you seeing resistance to your vision to make disciples through your small groups?
- What changes do you need to make?
- When is a realistic timeframe to make those changes?
Are looking for resources to help you to transition your small groups to disciple making communities? These two resources will help you look at what is involved in the Change Management process.