I love the partnership between MAG and Church Community Builder. They are amazing people who share our desire to help churches increase impact and effectiveness for the Kingdom. We recently hosted a webinar with Bryan Miles and Jay McGuirk where the discussion centered on ways technology can improve small group ministry. The topic was a hot one, evidenced by the record number of people who attended the event.
Many churches understand the importance of intentional community, yet very few implement the necessary processes to truly understand whether it is actually happening. I get it; it's not easy to keep tabs on how each small group in the church is doing. However, this is precisely where technology can help. Rather than simply being a place for people to connect, your small groups can actually be a catalyst for growth and genuine disciple-making. Here are four proven ways technology can support you in this goal:
- Count the faces
Too often I see churches basing small group involvement on rosters rather than actual attendance. Would you be this casual with the offering? Of course not! So why not empower your group leaders with tools that allow them to tell you....every week...who actually shows up for their group. In my opinion, this is one of the most effective ways to increase member retention and commitment.
- Streamline reporting
What are you regularly tracking? In addition to group attendance, do you know what other needs have arisen? Do you really know the health of each and every small group? Put a reporting process in place on your church management software that holds every small group leader accountable for this information.
- Figure out what “life change” means for your church and measure that within your church management software
What are the criteria? Consistent attendance? Volunteering? Increased giving? Completing a series of classes? You can't improve what you don't track so, define your most important metrics and review them every quarter at a minimum. Then you can act and improve on the results you find.
- Leverage small group involvement to develop leaders
If you develop ways to accomplish the previous goals, you should then be able to surface potential leaders. A person who is committed to their group, serves on a ministry team and gives consistently might also make a great leader in some capacity. Today's technology can help you design powerful searches which will help you identify these people and personally invite them to engage at a whole new level!
One final thing I want to mention: Consider utilizing MAG’s Virtual Groups Pastor service. Providing oversight and support to your small group leaders is vital and often a major gap in the process. MAG provides a very effective way to accomplish this without adding to your full time staff. I love how they are leveraging technology like Skype and CCB to connect with and resource group leaders. Developed in partnership with North Point Community Church in Atlanta, this service is increasing small group impact in a very cost effective manner.
By measuring results and streamlining processes every aspect of church can and will be more successful. You simply have to start with an honest look at how your church is doing. The next step is to measure results—with the assistance of technology —to help your church refine your strategies to build a stronger, more connected community in your church.
Is your church already utilizing technology to measure the effectiveness of your small groups? How is it working? What would you share with your peers about the benefits and the challenges?