Is Your Church a Cruise Ship or Harbor Fleet?

I’ve realized that one’s perspective has everything to do with a small group ministry’s success or failure.

If the members and leadership maintain a cruise ship paradigm, the people onboard operate on various levels and areas of the great ship in small groupings. Everyone is encouraged to serve in some way to make the cruise ship a success, and most do just that. They serve selflessly too. The small groups in this kind of church support or fortify the cruise ship.

However, if the members and leadership maintain a small boat fleet paradigm, where the people living and working aboard the small boats gather together regularly in a safe harbor for encouragement, skill training, everything changes.

The goal of belonging is not to fortify, but to be fortified by the association. The small groups are connected to other boats with ropes when they’re in the harbor and feel quite connected to something larger, but it nothing like living aboard a cruise ship as one of many individuals organized by small groupings.

How do you and especially your members view your church? As a cruise ship growing in size or a fleet of small groups whom the staff and pastor support? 

The health of a small group ministry is determined by both the pastoral oversight and the members of the groups. If the lead pastor does not see the church as a relationally connected fleet of biblical communities who carry out the mission, he’ll look in the mirror and see Gavin McCloud.    

Used by permission from TOUCH Outreach Ministries, Inc.
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Randall Neighbour
Randall Neighbour is the President of TOUCH Outreach Ministries, Inc., a non-profit organization located in Houston, Texas. His threefold ministry focus is to consult, train, and resource churches as they fulfill the Great Commandment and Great Commission through a highly relational holistic small group-based model for church life. Randall is the author of six additional resources for small group members, leaders, coaches, and groups, including the book, The Naked Truth About Small Group Ministry.