I have had a lot of conversations with church leaders across the country about how they measure the health of their small groups. It matters to me for two reasons:
- At Church Community Builder, we are constantly seeking ways to improve how we help church leaders measure things that matter.
- I lead two small groups myself I want to know how I can be a more effective leader.
While there are a variety of opinions on the matter, there is one thing I know for sure: Attendance numbers alone don’t tell the whole story.
As I've looked for resources on the topic, several posts from some of the foremost small group thought-leaders stood out. These guys confirm my position on attendance numbers and point out other crucial small group metrics that are worth considering.
According to Ben Reed, a good indicator for health is how long people hang around once small group concludes: “How do I know we’re going to have a successful group? They stayed at our house until almost 11:00. And we started at 6:30.” People are not in a rush to leave when they feel a genuine connection with one another. There is a tension in this because sometimes people MUST leave on time for childcare and other reasons. However, I do like Ben's premise that a healthy group finds it very easy to spend lots of time together.
Rick Howerton measures small group health by checking out how engaged the small group is with one another and with the Lord throughout the week. Are your small group members keeping up with one another during the week? Are they praying for the small group? The commitment to the small group outside of meeting times shows that it is a healthy small group.
The small group leader consistently asks himself or herself how the group could improve and receives feedback from the small group coordinator. In this post, Mac Lake explains that a healthy small group has a leader who is teachable and listens to others. This is not easy. Who wants to invite people to criticize them? However, the concept of a teachable spirit is HUGE and, in my opinion, all good leaders have it.
The team at Church Community Builder has assembled some additional resources on leading small groups effectively. Check em out here!
Do you agree with these three measurements? How do you measure a small group’s vital signs?