Can you believe March is already here? It is insane how fast 2014 is flying by. In our student ministry, we begin small groups for the year in August when the school year starts for our students. We then conclude them in May, and do not have small groups over the summer. Throughout the year, we have evaluated small groups and their effectiveness. I want to share a few thoughts with you regarding how to determine an effective small group.
- Consistent Students—If your students constantly miss for no real good reason, there is a problem. In the most effective small groups, students come! Now, you will have students miss for practice and for sporting events, but if students are missing just to miss, there is a problem. Another sign is if they are constantly wanting to go to another small group.
- Positive Leaders—Look, a sign of an effective small group is when the leaders are excited and pumped up regarding their small group. If the leaders are complaining about their students each week, that may show an ineffective small group. The attitude in which leaders address their small group students can determine the direction of where the small group is heading.
- Steps in the Right Direction—As a leader, by now, you should have seen some steps in your youth. Now, some are slower and more gradual than others, but if you go the entire year without any of your students taking any steps in the right direction, there is a problem. Set goals at the beginning of the year, and, over time, effective small groups should be taking steps toward those goals.
- Guests—Effective small groups usually generate guests. Students who love their small group usually desire to bring their friends to the group. When was the last time you saw some guests at your group?
- Adding New Groups—Look, it is a positive thing if you have to split small groups and create two small groups because certain groups are becoming too large. That is not something to complain about, that is something to be excited about. It means something is working!
- Family Involvement—I consider it a huge WIN when students fire up their parents about their faith. If you are seeing more consistent and involved parents, that can be a good sign things are working for you. Family ministry is not just for the student pastor, but also for the small group leaders.