- Destination is integral
Think about it. You don’t get on board a bus unless you know where it is going! You look at the sign or number of the bus and jump on when you are sure it is going where you want to go.
It is the same when setting up a small group ministry. It is of utmost importance to decide why you are building a small group ministry. What is your end in mind? Your destination. What are you trying to achieve? This questions needs to be answered succinctly and I strongly suggest that the question needs to be asked in the light of the overall vision/mission of your faith community. (Your small group ministry should act as a vehicle to help achieve this core congregational mission.)
Once your destination is decided it must be communicated clearly and often so people are willing to jump on board.
2. One Bus network with many routes
Have you noticed that while there are many buses and various bus routes there is only one company? The name of the company and logo are painted on the side of the bus and everyone knows which company the bus belongs to.
A healthy small group ministry aims to replicate this principle. While each individual group is important and vital to the people who belong to it, every small group within your church is connected to all the others. A network of groups representing a larger entity, your church. It is important to set up your model to reflect this principle.
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3. Set pick up and drop off zones
Normally you cannot say to a bus driver just drop me off before the next intersection, or please stop at the corner of Smith and George street. The bus has pre-set pick up and drop off zones. Everybody knows this. Imagine the chaos if passengers could get on and off the bus wherever they wanted. It would take forever to reach your destination.
A vital question which needs to be asked when creating a small group ministry model is how and when will people join or change groups. Most small group ministry models have clarity around a strategy for launching new groups but often overlook the need for developing a system, structure and plan for the in-between times. How will you incorporate in your model, set entry/exit points for people to join/leave existing groups? How can this be communicated clearly so that chaos and frustration can be avoided?
4. Connection to the Home Depot
All the buses return to the depot. They are cleaned, filled with petrol, have their motors tuned and receive any upgrades they need. For the bus company to remain a healthy business the buses need to be maintained and cared for. They just can’t keep going indefinitely.
A small group ministry model also needs to incorporate regular times where groups and leaders are refuelled, retuned, challenged and cared for. These times are integral to the continued health of your small group ministry.