Group ministries that lack a stable and sustainable infrastructure will never accomplish the goal of making disciples over the long haul and will never see ongoing numeric growth.
To build an effective infrastructure you must first understand a few things about a small group ministry infrastructure:
1. It is relational.
Every coach and small group leader has three basic needs. Someone to affirm and encourage them, hold them accountable to accomplish what the church leadership has determined is required of them, and to answer the many questions that arise as they go about doing what they’ve agreed to do.
2. It demands accountability at all levels.
As Steve Gladen at Saddleback Church has said, “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.”
3. It is time consuming.
Creating a flow chart and filling all of the positions on the flow chart is about 3 percent of the work.
4. It requires committed servant leaders.
In order for all the people at every level… coaches and small group leaders (in the average sized church) to be effective, it will be necessary to:
- Recruit them wisely. Be certain they know what the role entails, how much time the work will take weekly, and what training sessions are required and when those sessions will take place.
- Equip them purposefully. No church leader should ever ask someone to take on a role if they aren’t going to get the training necessary to accomplish the work effectively.
- Empower them passionately. After a person has been trained well, ceremonially (without creating the corny factor) empower them for service. Once you’ve done this, no longer consider them underlings with a job to learn, consider them equals with a ministry to accomplish.
Rick Howerton has one passion — to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is pursuing this passion as the small group and discipleship specialist at Lifeway Church Resources.