Growth is an essential part of every church ministry. You want to touch as many lives as possible and encourage discipleship among members. However, many small groups stagnate at a comfortable size. Why mess with a good thing?
The aim for growth is one of the factors that set small groups apart from a normal Bible study. It is important to grow and to touch more lives with your small group ministry. Here are five foolproof ways that you can encourage growth.
1. Be a good leader.
A poor leader will not be able to make a small group grow because they have little to offer. It is essential that the leader be a good teacher and facilitator. In addition, you should always be prepared, practice good communication, and in general show leadership. This does not have to come naturally; many notable Biblical figures such as Moses struggled to lead, with great results. Learn effective teaching skills and ways of facilitating small group discussion. Communicate and disseminate materials using a program such as StudyChurch. God will guide you if you are sincere.
2. Have a clear and stated purpose.
A successful small group has a defined reason. Whether you are focused on Bible study, evangelism, or discipleship, you have a primary purpose. It is important that this purpose be clear so potential new members know what they can expect from your ministry. If your small group does not have a primary purpose, it is time to talk and pray as a group.
3. Always be prepared for guests.
When a guest shows up and you are unprepared, you have sent a powerful message, albeit not a positive one. You have communicated that your small group is not ready for guests and that they were an interruption or imposition. Have a plan for unexpected guests, and have some materials as well. Keep extra copies of your materials, nametags, extra snacks, and whatever else you would need to graciously welcome a newcomer.
4. Focus on pastoral care.
Does your small group have a plan for following up and caring for members? Growth depends not just on reaching new members, but on retaining existing members. Assign one or two members of your group to pastoral care so people get the follow up and engagement they need. Have them call members who are absent and even offer tangible help such as visits to those who are ill. No one should fall through the cracks in an engaged small group.
5. Pray for growth.
If your small group is bringing more people to the Lord, you can rest assured that God is on your side. Pray for His help in serving group members, attracting new people, and producing disciples and evangelists. Pray as a small group not just for members, but that people who would benefit from your ministry find it.
Growing as a small group will enable you to reach more people, both within your church community and beyond. Revitalize your small group today by shifting the focus beyond mere study to growing both in faith and in numbers.