Each year after Christmas, I sit down and write out my goals for the next calendar year, and most importantly, the steps required to achieve those goals. Then I share them with a guy I know and he does the same. Each week when we meet, we talk about how we are doing with our goal achievement.
In much the same way, pastors create a goal for group expansion, but they do this alone. What they have created are personal goals for the small group ministry, not a set of goals formed by a team of group leaders and coaches.Goal-setting for your small group ministry must be done with the very people who will achieve those goals.
After all, you won't get very far herding cats, and that's what private goalsetting is like when you're working with a group of people who must do things differently, better, or a lot more of what they've done in the past to increase the small group ministry.
Do ministry differently in 2010. Gather a team of passionate leaders from your small group ministry and prayerfully set goals for group expansion together. As a team, examine what was set in place in 2009 but didn't catch on in the groups; what worked swimmingly well and exceeded your expectations; and what changes must be made to grow in 2010.
The pastors with whom I am consulting are working with their teams and planning to do a couple of new things in 2010. Here's what I'm hearing:
For many cutting-edge small group-driven churches, moving away from the leader-apprentice model is a priority for 2010. They're transitioning to a core team model that Michael Mack wrote about in his new little pocket book for group leaders and what I wrote about in a latter chapter of my latest book for pastors.
Other pastors are focusing on the root issues behind their lack of new leaders, which is discipleship, not improved leader training. The way to introduce discipleship to your small group members successfully is not through a programmic launch whereby everyone works through the first book during the meeting. It's far better to introduce member-to-member discipleship when relational evangelism occurs. When a member reaches a friend for Christ, you should be ready to help them take the new believer through a spiritual formation and development process that naturally leads them into group leadership as one of the first things they do for God in a leadership capacity.
Another pastor has told me that 2010 will be the year his group members and their leaders get ahold of God and allow God to get ahold of them through prayer. The typical American small group of believers who meet regularly pray for five to ten minute or less on average when they meet. No wonder nothing exciting and transformational happens in their small group! If you only want a little of God's power, pray just a little. If you want a lot of God's power, pray a lot! I've blogged about prayer in small groups twice this year, so if you want to review those blog posts click here for ideas.
Need an ongoing source of encouragement?
TOUCH Outreach is offering something new for 2010... small group coaching. For a small monthly fee, you'll receive a weekly phone call to talk and pray over your small group ministry and your goals, assessment tools to help you find out where you are (so you can grow faster), extra discounts on TOUCH resources, and a free one-day training for your leaders or consulting day with me at your church! Check out this page for more information!
If you have other goals for your small groups you're developing with a team, do comment and share with the hundreds of people who will read this blog entry. Your information is really valuable and you should not hesitate to add something to the discussion.