If you are new to the role of Small Group Point Person, my hope is that this post will set you up for success. If you have been in your current role for a while, this post will hopefully allow you to do a reset/refresh of your ministry and see if there are changes needed.
As some of you know, I was in the Navy for 23 years before God called me into full time ministry as a Small Group Point Person. My Navy life meant that my family and I moved every 2-3 years. This life had its drawbacks, but it also had benefits. We got to experience lots of new places and faces. We got really good at connecting and creating community in multiple different environments. And I only had to have three years’ worth of jokes, because I could just recycle.
My Navy life also helped me tremendously when I have stepped into leadership as the Small Groups Point Person at different churches. I use a 90 process when stepping into a new role, or when considering a big change to the way ministry is done.
The first 30 days. Ask lots of questions. This is not the time to implement anything. As a leader, you want to make changes, but you don’t know enough about the past…yet. You haven’t built the relational capital you need to implement change…yet. The first 30 days is about meeting people and asking questions.
Side note: Never accept “That is just the way we have always done it,” as an answer to question. Follow up that response with, “Since when?” Most of the time “the way we have always done it” really means this is the way we have done it for the last 3-4 years. Find out the reason why it is done that way.
The second 30 days. Evaluate the current state of things. After gathering information for 30 days, it is time to evaluate reality. What is the current state of small groups? How healthy are they? What barriers exist to connecting people? What assumptions do people involved in small groups have? You only have the gift of fresh eyes for about 90 days. Don’t waste it.
The final 30 days. Once you have gathered information and evaluated reality, it is time to prioritize. Figure out where your energy and your voice is needed. After all, God called you to this role to lead. Is the connection process broken? Are small groups too focused on fellowship? Which one of these needs to be addressed first? It is time to make that call.
Day 91. Once you hit day 91, it is time to act. On day 91, you can no longer blame problems on the last person, or the way things are, or the culture. You are now responsible for taking action to fix the problems you see, and blaming others does not solve problems.
Being intentional about the 90 day process will lay the groundwork for the next 900 days.
Most of the thoughts here come from my implementation of the book The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins. It is a great summer read if you have never read it.
[Also check out Steve Gladen’s new book “Planning Small Groups with Purpose” to develop a strategic small group plan for your ministry]