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Mark Howell: 10 Checks to Evaluate Your Small Group Ministry

10 Checks to Evaluate Your Small Group Ministry

Use My Signature 10-Point Checklist to Evaluate Your Small Group Ministry

Everyone knows that before you take your car on a road trip…you really should do more than fill up the gas tank. You might check the tire pressure and take it in for an oil change. You might decide it’s time for new windshield wipers or even a new set of tires.

Getting ready for the next leg in your small group ministry adventure? Maybe it’s time you took your ministry through my signature 10-point checklist!

  1. Review your small group ministry’s present state. There are a number of ways you can think about the way things are right now. An accurate understanding of where you are right now is essential no matter where you want to go. See also, Diagnosing a Small Group Ministry and The Four Helpful Lists by Tom Paterson.
  2. Review (or create) your end in mind for your ideal small group. What kinds of groups do you want for every member of a group? Are there certain activities and habits? Are there certain experiences? What do you want it to feel like to be part of a small group in your system? See also, The End in Mind for My Ideal Small Group.
  3. Review (or create) your preferred future for the kind of small group leader you dream of producing. Spend some time thinking about the kind of leaders you will need to have in order to create the micro-environments that actually encourage life-change. See also, From Here to There: The Preferred Future for Small Group Leaders.
  4. Review (or create) your annual grouplife calendar. Have you planned to take advantage of the best opportunities to connect unconnected people? Have you built in the steps that will allow you to maximize impact? Or have you compromised and compressed timelines in a way that will lessen impact? See also, How to Build an Annual GroupLife Calendar.
  5. Evaluate your current coaching team. Do you have high-capacity, 100- and 60-fold players on the team? Or have you compromised and added 30-fold players who struggle to accomplish their mission? Have you settled for warm-and-willing when hot-and-qualified is needed? See also, Diagnosis: The Coaches in Your System.
  6. Evaluate your current plan to develop the coaches on your team. Remember, whatever you want to happen in the lives of the members of your groups must happen first in the lives of your small group leaders. If that’s true, then whatever you want to happen in the lives of your leaders must happen first in the lives of your coaches. Can you see where this is going? Assuming that your coaches will develop themselves is short sighted and compromises the integrity of your system. See also, 7 Practices for Developing and Discipling Coaches.
  7. Evaluate (or create) your plan to develop your existing small group leaders. I am a fan of a very low entry bar of leadership…but the word “entry” is a very important word. I also know that lowering the bar and recruiting HOSTs won’t often put shepherds into the system. It will usually put people who are willing to open up their home. If you want to make it easy to begin as a host, you’ve got to make it nearly automatic that new hosts step onto a leader development conveyor belt that moves them in the direction you want them to go. Don’t have the conveyor belt? Now’s the time to build it! See also, Steve Gladen on Saddleback’s Leadership Pathway.
  8. Evaluate your existing leaders in search of potential coaches. Look over your list for high capacity leaders who may be able to put their toe in the water of caring for another new leader or two. Your best coaching candidates are almost always leading their own group and doing a great job. Inviting them to test-drive the coaching role by helping mentor a new leader or two is a great way to let them put a toe in the water. See also, What if Your Coaching Structure Looked Like This?
  9. Take a careful look at the next connecting event you’ve got planned. Will you take advantage of the next optimum time to connect people? Do you have several weeks of promotion built in? Have you designed the event to appeal to unconnected people? Have you chosen a study that will peak the interest of unconnected people? Have you already chosen a great follow-up study? See also, 6 Essential Components of a Small Group Launch and How to Launch New Groups Using a Small Group Connection.
  10. Evaluate (or create) your recommended study list. One of the most helpful tools you can provide for small group leaders is a recommended study list. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can begin as simply as a top 10 list. It can exist as a page on your website or a simple handout that you keep updated. See also, Here’s a Sample Recommended Study List.

This article originally appeared here.

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Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.