6 Simple Steps to Make the Most of Small Groups
At the heart of the Church’s New Evangelization directive is to ‘go and make disciples.’ Many churches host small groups to connect with current parishioners and newcomers who are curious about the faith. The structure of a small group is simple; literally, a small group of people meeting regularly with a common objective. Yet, in truth, managing a small group, and, most importantly, witnessing the transformation of each member isn’t so simple. That’s where Mission Pathways excels: we handle the administration and the personal faith journey of each person. The six steps below outline how Mission Pathways can help you get the most out of each step.
1. Building small groups
Small groups can be organized based on life stage (young adults, retirees, parents of small children, etc.), or by studying the biblical perspective of current issues, such as morality, finance, leadership, etc. By design, small groups provide a safe and supportive space for members to share their beliefs and even doubts about their faith and to understand their role in evangelizing others. Mission Pathways’ interface is easy to use and offers many communication options to all, some, or individual group members by email, text, or phone.
2. Set an objective
While many small groups have no set duration or formal agenda, they do concentrate on a single focus, such as The Gospel of Matthew or a Caregivers Support Group. Within this structure, it is essential to establish a clear objective. This keeps the conversation on track and helps members grow spiritually by reaching specific milestones. If your group’s focus is finding your spiritual gift, small groups are a great environment to ask for prayer and guidance. The leader will keep the conversation on track and moving forward. Use Mission Pathways’ drop-down menu of Group Types to select your specific group focus. You can also update your audience type, group location, and any other logistical items as necessary.
3. Measure growth
So, your group type and members are identified, and you have established an objective to maintain the group’s intended focus – now what? Measure growth!
Even the most casual group needs to grow spiritually to thrive. To measure growth, you must first decide what you are measuring and how it will be calculated. Currently, the Mission Suite provides detailed faith journey experiences in the People Profile, including the name and date range of specific groups or events, and the individual’s role in that group. The measurements can also be used to communicate your group’s impact to the pastor. Status of individual progress, such as how many groups the person is currently in and their growth into a leadership role, give the pastor a quick view of how the group is awakening hearts in the Church.
4. Adjust focus if necessary
Over the lifetime of any small group, its purpose will evolve. New members will join, original members may move on to start new groups or even new ministries within the parish. That is the sign of a strong small group. If a group continues with the same members discussing the same topics, they cease to develop and achieve their potential. Agree to revisit the group’s focus and objectives at a regular interval: quarterly, yearly, whichever is appropriate to your group makeup, size, and focus. Mission Pathways has intentionally made the creation and modification of groups easy to accommodate administrative changes over the lifecycle of a group.
5. Nourish the group lifecycle
As stated above, group membership may shift over time. This is perfectly acceptable and will even ensure the continued success of the small group. With our software, you can retain and view the information for each member, past or current, and their role(s). You can also add new members at any time. You can generate a report from several data points for a quick reference resource.
6. Build faith journeys that make disciples
While managing the administrative details are necessary, the true mission of a small group is to provide an atmosphere for individuals to draw closer to God. A group can experience this by praying together, serving others in the community, or bearing witness to their faith. The objective of a small group is not only to help others but to spiritually transform each member. Mission Pathways can track the administrative details and nurture each person’s faith journey. Try our software now and inspire transformation in your Church and community.