You love surveys most likely if you need the information and despise them if you have to fill it out.
As a small group leader or point person, you have a vested interest in spiritual growth. Some leaders tend to value metrics, and others desire more qualitative information like stories.
No matter where you find yourself, we want to know that individuals in small groups are pursuing spiritual growth as critical leaders.
Recently, I found myself in a leadership conversation about spiritual growth and surveys. Browncroft, the church I serve, utilizes Church Community Builder (CCB) as its Church Management Software (CMS). This platform provides us with crucial insights like small group attendance, serving, and giving.
Two problems emerge in our discussion about spiritual growth. First, prayer and Bible engagement metrics need more context (as with every spiritual growth area) than a checkbox. Secondly, surveys and reports can diminish the value of these discussions in small groups.
Small groups are the central location for conversations about spiritual growth. Leaders like yourself provide pastors and elders with far more insight into the spiritual temperature of the church.
Don’t get me wrong, I see tremendous value in CMS reporting and surveys, but small groups create a safe atmosphere to process spiritual next steps. If we all committed to normalizing these conversations, I wonder if we could help individuals grow spiritually through encouragement and accountability.
Whether you find yourself as a small group leader, point person, or pastor, I want to share a few questions that small groups can regularly ask to identify a next steps of spiritual growth:
1. What are you reading in the Bible, and how is it challenging you to grow?
Often, we want to know how often people engage the Bible. A better starting place comes from individuals identifying how God’s Word influences their life. This question helps individuals articulate that, and then you can check on regularity. Also, it’s helpful to know if people find themselves in a desert season of engagement. Now, the small group can support and encourage someone in that season.
2. What have you been praying about, and how is God working your life through prayer?
The content of our prayers reveals our worries, fears, hopes, and dreams. Taking a moment to delve into our prayers’ content will help individuals see where God is working. Consider this – when was the last time someone asked you that question? Getting in the habit of spiritual growth questions challenges us to more in-depth conversations about what God is doing in our lives.
3. When did you get baptized? If you have not been baptized, what’s challenging for you to pursue it?
As a church leader, do you know if every person in your group has gotten baptized? Again, this question does not come as a checkbox but as a way to prompt spiritual growth. Often, I have found people have fears about baptism. I wonder how much of that would change if they knew their small group supported them publicly declaring their faith.
4. What are your spiritual gifts? How are you using the gifts God gave you to serve others?
Imagine what would happen at the church you serve if people knew and recognized their spiritual gifts. People sit on the sidelines because they fear failure or even wonder if they can make a difference. Even before offering a serve opportunity, you as a leader can help start the discussion with individuals on their spiritual gifts. That discussion could even lead to someone moving out of a serving role to a better position. That could also mean individuals serving more in the small group.
5. Who are you sharing your faith with and what’s the biggest challenge you face?
A key outgrowth of someone maturing in following Jesus becomes sharing their faith. Sometimes, we find ourselves embarrassed to share. These questions delve deep so that we can normalize our fear and anxiety. Regularly asking this question helps individuals strategically think about who God has placed in their life to experience the gospel.
6. How are you financially giving and investing in the church?
You probably have heard it said that Jesus talked about money more than any other topic. One of my friends Tom Melzoni often says, “Giving is something God wants for you, not from you.” In some ways, this question is less about giving and more about how individuals might need help with budgeting. Yes, it could become a messy conversation, but if we can’t talk about money in small groups, where can we? No matter where a person is on the continuum of giving, God challenges us to have faith and look for ways to invest in His kingdom. Our bank statement reflects our values.
7. When did you become a church member? If you have not pursued membership, what’s challenging you to pursue it?
Not all the churches represented in this network have membership. If you do, you will want to clarify the value with senior leadership. The membership discussion reflects a commitment to the church. This practice has changed generationally, but the more extensive discussion helps people see their essential participation in the Body of Christ.
8. What’s your spiritual next step?
None of us have arrived spiritually. Small groups that ask this question help individuals take risks and get outside their comfort zones. I wonder how many people find themselves second-guessing an opportunity because they have not felt the support of their small group. Let’s normalize this question and celebrate it.
We can become tempted to go on autopilot in our small groups. I believe these questions provide clarity and can spark spiritual growth in individuals. They also provide context more than data.
Would you add any questions? Share your thoughts in the comment section.