We all enter into ministry for a variety of reasons. For me, I love seeing people grow spiritually through a rich experience of biblical community. I have been blessed with incredible community, experiencing firsthand how transformative small group Christian community can and should be. I want to shepherd people into that experience.
That last sentence is key in how I approach ministry. I am a shepherd at heart. I am gentle. I like to guide people and walk alongside people. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to anything in life, but especially ministry.
This works great for me when I am meeting one-on-one with a person. But when it comes to dealing with a congregation of 750? I feel clueless on how to strategically think through how to develop a system that helps the crowd, because after all, I can never tailor-make a process for each individual under my care.
Thankfully, I was recently able to host and attend Accelerate Utah in Park City, April 23-25. Accelerate is three full days of drinking from a fire hydrant! After 20 years of serving as the Global Small Groups Pastor for Saddleback church, Steve Gladen walks small group point people through 22 questions that he believes every small group ministry must answer in order to be the most effective, regardless of the model.
But the best and hardest thing about Accelerate is that he doesn’t just walk you through the questions, he actually forces you to answer them. For every hour of teaching, he gives participants an hour to process and develop SMART goals for each question. Then on the last day we prioritize each question and come up with three to seven that we will implement in the 12 months. I walked away from the three days with a strategic plan on how best to move my small group ministry forward.
Brought to you by the Small Group Network, “Accelerate!” Minnesota is a 3-day workshop for small group ministry point people and their leadership teams. You and your team will take a 360-degree view of your small group ministry as you develop a comprehensive strategic action plan for 2018 – 2019. REGISTER HERE!
But this was hard work for me. My brain does not naturally gravitate toward this way of thinking, nor in my previous jobs did I ever have to do this. Through the process, however, I realized the huge importance of spending concentrated time doing this.
And while my primary giftings do not include strategic planning, chances are there is someone in my ministry who loves this sort of thing. One of my strategic steps was to form a team to help me in this regard. As this blog post reminded us, leadership is best done in community, and not by ourselves.
I would challenge and almost plead with all of you, especially if you are new to the small group ministry: do yourself, your ministry, your church, and most importantly, God’s people a huge favor and find the time and resources to attend an Accelerate conference. For a list of upcoming Accelerates, click here.