While many American churches are growing numerically when counting noses on Sunday morning, we consistently hear comments such as, “No one wants to lead a group because they’re too busy” or “We can’t seem to get our groups to focus on reaching unchurched people for Christ” or “Our small group ministry just isn’t growing like other churches we read about.”
One might think this malady is only found in smaller, struggling churches. Not so! America’s largest churches are not seeing their small groups multiply naturally through relationships. Most increase the number of groups with hastily formed collections of interested strangers.
As a nation of church leaders desiring true biblical community, we’ve got a big problem with small groups.
The relational counterculture
The typical American pastor struggles to make small groups work. Each small gain made in small group life is a hard-fought battle. The traditional church culture still holds back many lay leaders who are heavily invested in antiquated programs. There is simply no room to belong to or lead a small group into Christ’s presence, power, and purposes for their lives.
Those who have broken out of the traditional church roles to lead small groups remain so busy with career and family that they do not have time to devote to relationships with group members between meetings. Moreover, small group members, who are fully capable of leading a group, have no desire to lead because of greater priorities. Little League baseball games and working a high-stress job to serve a growing debt load are far more important than living and ministering to others in biblical community.
The two conflicting cultures in which we live—found inside and outside the walls of church buildings—work against the formation of a third relational counterculture, where Christ’s presence births personal transformation in the midst of a small group family. Attempting to move one’s congregation out of one unresolved cultural clash into a strange new way of life is no easy task. The road to outward-focused biblical community will no doubt be awash with the blood, sweat, and tears of many hard-working pastors!
Just how dissatisfied are you, pastor?
If you are frustrated or downright fed up with doing high maintenance, low success small groups, TOUCH Outreach is here to help you. Pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-800-735-5865 or 713-884-8893. Ask for Randall and he'll be more than happy to help you do something different and get much better results!