We have all heard how important Small Groups are to health and growth of the church. But using these groups to track the health of your members and reach new people has been a very difficult task for many Church leaders.
For example, Tim and Jenny have a small group of couples who study the Bible together and encourage each other on Tuesday nights. They are also part of a group of Nursery Volunteers and a group called Home School Families. Tim attends a once a month Men’s Breakfast and Jenny works as a mentor to Young Mothers.
They are very involved in the life of the church it would appear. However, are they really involved? Their couples small group has not met for over three months, the Home School Group is really falling apart and they have found a replacement for their Volunteer spot in the Nursery the last two months.
So what is happening with Tim and Jenny? Most churches have no real way of tracking how effective these groups are and if their members are really involved. Churches are ahead of the curve if they even have a list of who is in which group.
Members also have a hard time finding groups that might be helpful to their growth. Tim and Jenny have not been attending because Tim lost his job and is now working two jobs and Jenny has been babysitting a friend’s kid to bring in extra cash. Their story is exactly why you created the once a month unemployed group. The group is a place to network and have others pray specifically for this type of situation. Unfortunately Tim and Jenny have no idea this ministry exists and the church leadership had no idea there was a problem.
This problem can be easily solved by following these steps.
- Define what a healthy member looks like for your church. Many churches are not able to effectively track the health of members and groups because they are not sure what to look for. Tracking a combination of Giving, Worship attendance, Bible Study attendance and Service is a great start. If you see multiple pattern changes for a member you can begin to reach out to them.
- Use software that makes it easy for lay group leaders to track attendance. If the leader of a small group, service area or community group can readily track attendance then the Church staff can accurately identify people who are beginning to fall away.
- Create automatic tasks and communications when these patterns begin. Your software should be able to create alerts and emails when attendance drops off or other important changes happen in the life of your members.
- Your members should be able to sign up for groups online. It is not good enough to simply have the information on your website. People might see a group’s information online and may even decide that they want to attend. But for most people, bridging that gap from announcement to actually attending is the weakest link. Individuals are more likely to attend if they enroll in the group and if the group leader or another group member extends a personal invitation to an upcoming gathering. Once they enroll in a group, you will be able to know if they are attending consistently and you will be able to follow-up to see they are in need of any help.
Many Small Group leaders and ministries start off with high expectations but fall flat because the Church has no real way of understanding their effectiveness. By defining the purpose for the groups and tracking the results the Church can effectively minister to their members.
To learn more about how Groups and Workflows can help your Small Group Ministries watch these two videos.
Automatic Tasks and Communication
Tim McClendon is a SimpleChurch account specialist. He has a background in children’s ministry, camp ministry and stand-up comedy. If you don’t see how these fit together, you haven’t been a children’s minister in a large church. Names used in this blog are fictitious – i.e. Tim McClendon still has a day job.