When I first joined the staff at Saddleback Church. Rick told me he reserved seats for over 800 men on 7 different 747s headed to Washington, DC for Promise Keepers. I suggested we recruit leaders from some of the existing men's groups to launch a few more men's groups from the 800+ men going to the event. Over 300 men said they wanted to join a group, and half dozen men agreed to lead them.
We launched 32 groups from those 800 men; almost 300 men got connected. But there was only a 50 percent group success rate, which disappointed me. Rick Warren said, "That's okay. At least 50 percent of them stayed connected." Eventually, that rate grew to 72 percent until we had connected almost 8000 people in groups over a 3-year period.
From this experience, I learned that small group health depends upon the following four realities.
1. You need a simple picture of success. Small group ministries need to begin with the end in mind. When you begin with the end in mind you realize it is a changed life that matters—a life molded to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Remember that a successful small group is one that connects people in authentic community for life so that they have a spiritual family and will forever grow in their relationship with Christ. Not just for a season but forever.
Small groups aren't just a forum for fellowship. Small groups are a forum for the Great Commission and Great Commandment to be realized in people's lives.
2. You need a strategic process. First, you've got to have a process that brings them in. Then you've got to have a process that builds them up. Then you've got to have a process that trains them. Lastly, you need a process to push them out on ...