Don't you love it when a plan comes together!? Perhaps you started a new small group and used a great new curriculum or group agenda to get it started. Everyone loved it. People grew. The group grew. Things went great…for a while. Then it came time for the group to choose the next study focus. How do you follow something that was so life-changing? Then suddenly, an unexpected issue surfaces. Someone in the group wants the group to talk about childcare. What starts as a simple discussion becomes a major issue. Childcare was not fully taken into account in the original group plan, so now, all of a sudden, that great original plan does not seem to be quite as great any more.
The same thing happens in small group ministries. Small groups get started in a church, and, at first, there is a vision, a plan, a program, or a campaign that gets things started. Typically, things start with anticipation and excitement, but then things happen, like unexpected rapid growth, or no growth, or conflict, or leadership problems, or sin. All of a sudden, our plans that seemed so great, now seem sort of inadequate and incomplete.
What do you do in these situations? For sure, you pray! It is the first thing, the last thing, and sometimes the only thing you can do. Pray.
The other thing you do, typically, is talk about it. You gather the key folks involved to identify issues and and come up with a new plan. If the small group is having an issue with childcare, you talk about it as a small group. If the small group ministry is having leadership development problems, you get the church leaders together to talk about it.
The challenge is, assuming you can identify the problem, how do you guide a discussion to help people arrive at some sort of ...