June 9, 2006

Small Group Project

A friend of mine, Jeff, is finishing up his Master of Divinity degree in Kansas City. Jeff and I worked together for a couple of years and became very good friends. He used to make the medicinal afternoon French Press Coffee that helped us end the day on a good note. Besides writing and editing, Jeff is also on staff at a church.

Shortly before I left KC, Jeff started a project on small groups. Over the next few weeks, I want to give you the results of Jeff's work, as I think it gives us insight into the working of small groups in the local church.

Each person's answers will be given as they gave them. I don't want to misrepresent them in any way, but feel they have a lot to offer us in looking at small groups. They all seem to be doing somethings different and some things in a similar way.

I am posting Jeff's questions here. If you would like to answer them and send them to me, I can forward them to Jeff, and you will be helping with this on-going project. I have changed the contact information at the end to reflect the change of purpose for using this information on the blog. I look forward to receiving your responses. My e-mail is ewright.themerge@gmail.com

Here are the questions:


Church Denomination (if any) _______ Avg. AM Worship Attendance ______
Age of Congregation ___________ Number of pastors on staff _________

1. Approximately what percentage of your regular attendees participates in at least one small group on a regular basis? What percentage is your church's goal?

2. How many worship services do you have each week? Please list when, where, and how well attended.

3. Who is primarily responsible for oversight of your small group ministry (e.g., layperson(s), senior pastor, staff pastor, etc.)? Is this person or people paid or volunteer?

4. What level of oversight does your small group ministry leadership team strive for? In other words, how consistent with your church's mission are the 'official' small groups which meet?

5. Are there now, or have there ever been any problems associated with your small groups? Please elaborate.

6. If yes, how are those problems typically handled?

7. Do you provide initial or ongoing training for leaders of small groups? If yes, on a formal or informal basis? How often do you provide it? In what context?

8. What kinds of requirements do you have for potential leaders before they are recognized as such? If you have 'rogue' leaders who are not trained, how does your leadership team handle an issue like that?

9. What kind of small group curriculum does your church use, if any? How strictly is use of this particular curriculum is enforced? How so? How major of a concern is right theology in regards to small groups (compared to Christian fellowship and formation)?

10. What particular types of small groups does your church body officially recognize (e.g., service groups, Bible study, support, fellowship, accountability, 12-step program, etc.)?

11. How significant is the concept of small groups as compared to other components of your church’s overall ministry (e.g., worship services, evangelism, compassion, corporate prayer, etc.)?

12. Do your small groups primarily function as a means of evangelism to new believers, or discipleship to existing members? Why? How do you separate and/or incorporate these two goals within the small group context?

13. Has your church always sponsored small groups? If not, what ministry or service (if any) was sacrificed or minimized in order to make room for small groups in the church community? How were they initiated? Were they promoted as necessary for the well being of the church, or as an 'add-on' to an already full list of voluntary church activities?

14. What would you consider the primary reason that your church encourages and supports small groups?

15. What would you consider your most pressing concern in regards to small groups?

16. How do you handle difficult situations that arise that might be too complex for lay leaders (e.g., personalities that attempt to sway new believers, dysfunctional relationships, stalking, etc.)? Do you require leaders and/or participants to sign a 'covenant of confidentiality'?

17. Does your church currently host Sunday School classes for adults? Why or why not? In what ways does that potentially impact your small group ministry?

18. How are small groups defined in your church? What size do you consider to be a small group? When a 'small group' becomes a 'large group' is it divided, or allowed to continue to grow? If divided, how is that handled in a way that satisfies all parties and encourages positive growth?

19. In what ways does your church continue to promote and support the concept of small groups (e.g., website, newsletter, foyer advertising, announcements, etc.)?

20. Based on your experience, what advice would you give to a church body that is contemplating adding small groups into its mix of community activities?

Your name: ________________________

Name of your church:_____________________

Contact information:_______________________


May I share your responses? YES___ NO___

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