You know how sometimes there really is an elephant in the room and no one wants to talk about it? Or if certain people are in the room a kind of code is used to disguise the real topic? Depending on who’s in the room, the subject of starting new groups can be like that.
Don’t believe me? Try having conversations (or even casting vision) about the need for new groups:
1. In front of the leaders of groups that aren’t full.
2. In front of certain members of groups that everyone knows ought to be leading a group.
3. When space is at a premium and the new groups will need to be off-campus.
4. When two or three unconnected generations have already voted with their feet … but the leaders of the status quo want equal time when it comes to promotion, etc.
Sound familiar? What is a leader to do? You might need to begin to lead by acknowledging the truth about the need to start new groups.
5 blatantly obvious truths:
1. There is a very good reason you need to start new groups. After all, ”Your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing (Andy Stanley).” If you’ve not already connected 100% of your Easter attendance, you have work to do. Obviously, your current strategy is either ineffective or incomplete.
2. New groups offer distinct advantages. This may not be a mystery to you, but it might not be intuitive for your existing leaders. The degree of difficulty connecting into longstanding cliques, the opportunity to engage a new wave of leaders, and the opportunity to easily bring a friend are just three of the advantages that new groups bring.
3. You already have all the leaders you need to take the next step. Whether you have a congregation of 100 or 1000, you have men and women who have been prepared by God for such a time as this. Praying the Matthew 9 prayer that God will send workers? He already has! You just need to give them a chance!
4. You already have nearly unlimited space to start new groups. Nearly everyone knows that constraints actually produce novel solutions. Running out of room on campus? Perfect. All your existing off-campus groups are full? Even better. “People think of creativity as this sort of unbridled thing, but engineers thrive on constraints. They love to think their way out of that little box: ‘We know you said it was impossible, but we’re going to do this, this, and that to get us there.’ “
5. The lack of commitment on the part of unconnected people is not the underlying issue. Imagine a business bemoaning the lack of commitment (or the failure to know better) of their hoped for customer as the reason for their failure. It does happen (I’m sure the buggy whip manufacturers of the early 1900s were included), but do you really want to be part of that club?