Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders 5 Reasons Why Small Group Members Don't Come Back

5 Reasons Why Small Group Members Don't Come Back

Every leader thinks that they have a great small group. And some of them wonder why people won’t come back after they visit for the first time. There are a million reasons why some people try out a group it doesn’t work, but here are 5 possible reasons that they may be fleeing for their lives:

1. Most of the group has been together for awhile and it’s hard to see a place to fit in.

This is why it is so important to start new groups instead of trying to shoehorn new people into existing groups. It’s kind of like when your parents moved when you were in the 10th grade and you had to show up to a new school to try to fit in. Unless you’re Ferris Bueller, it’s going to be a rough year.

2. There is no time invested in community.

I know that you have the group that loves to “go deep”. Last week’s discussion about whether Regeneration begins before salvation was probably riveting stuff, but if you’re not committing group time to developing lasting relationships, you’re missing the big picture of discipleship.

3. There is no time invested in study.

Community is important, but when the study is an afterthought, you basically have a social club. There has to be a balance between the two.

4. The leader dominates the discussion.

I know a group where the “study” consisted of the leader acting out a scene from The Matrix each week. That may be a bit extreme, but a lot of leaders feel like they need to be the center of the show and have all of the answers. We tell our leaders that if they are talking more than 30% of the time, there is a problem. Awkward silence can be your friend.

5. The leader is unprepared. 

I once asked someone to lead the discussion at our group and they started the night by asking their wife to run and print out the message questions because they hadn’t seen them yet. A leader who is not prepared shows that they don’t really care about the group. It doesn’t have to be 2 hours of prep, but at least know where the finish line is for the night.  

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Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of "Small Groups for the Rest of Us, Gospel-Centered Small Groups" and the just released "Leading Small Groups: How To Gather, Launch, Lead, and Multiply Your Small Group." You can follow his blog at chrissurratt.com or follow him on Twitter @chrissurratt.