Teaching group leaders the importance of multiplication is no easy task. My friend Brian Hofmeister is the groups pastor at Brooklife Church and has quite a bit of Q & A on the topic recently. Here are some of the questions along with his answers:
1. Why are we making a big deal about multiplication?
1. To live out Brooklife’s value statement, to “multiply at every level.”
2. To follow Biblical Direction. The early Church, as well as Israel, were corrected by God for collecting and clustering their blessings rather than going and multiplying them for others.
3. We are a growing church, even without a new facility. If our Church is going to be more than a Sunday morning thing, we need more groups to do life in. Our average group size is already 13. Quite simply, we need more room for more people.
2. Are we too concerned about numbers, just “trying to fill an aggressive quota” so to speak? If a number represents a real live person, I’m going to care about them with all my heart, soul, and strength. So yes, I’m going to unashamedly be obsessive over taking care of the new people God brings to our church.
3. Will you make my group multiply? Nope. It’s got to be under your timing and your leadership.
4. What if my group doesn’t want to? It’s a leadership call. Although there are legitimate reasons for which a group may not be able to multiply at the present time, I’m hard-pressed to find a consistent reason for which a group wouldn’t even be working in that direction. Overall, groups need to keep in mind that the path of Jesus is most often built on sacrifice – dying first, living second. If you only lead your group to places they feel like going, chances are you won’t have led them to Jesus at the end of the day.
5. Why are you asking me to split my group? I’m not. Multiplication is not splitting.
6. What then does multiplication look like? Multiplication happens when you 1) make it normal for people to play a role in the group gatherings, 2) apprentice someone in a leadership role, 3) release one person (or family) to start a new group.
7. How soon should we multiply? It’s all based on need and God’s timing, but I’d like to see each group able to multiply within 18-24 months.
8. What about the people I’ll miss?
1. Think of multiplication as growing your family tree instead of seeing this as divorce. Have big family reunions with all the groups. Keep a leadership forum going between all the leaders. Fun and family just got bigger!
2. Keep your discipleship triad the same even as you multiply new groups. Holding 1-2 of your best friends is usually just as valuable and keeping the whole group.
9. How many new groups do we need? Probably 10 in September and 5 in January 2012
10. How many groups are ready to multiply? Six groups have confirmed willingness to try.
11. What happens if present groups do not multiply enough new groups?
1. Plan B: Turbo Groups. I personally will try to recruit 8-12 new leaders and do an 8-week group aimed at developing leadership abilities.
2. Plan C: Starting Point Class in platform format mixed with table discussions that will hopefully morph into groups.
3. Problem with plan B and C: 1) It’s kind of like putting your newborn in an incubator – they turn out healthy in the end, but it’s not the ideal picture. 2) It makes our church more pastor dependent.
12. Why don’t we just make an announcement that we need new group leaders? That could work, but once again, it’s healthiest in the long run for our group leaders to get in the habit of developing new group leaders.