Once upon a time, someone tried to start a "small group program" in your church and it failed miserably. The whys and wherefores of the failure are irrelevant. The fact is, though, now you are stuck with the ever-present naysayers whose mantra is, "We tried that…." In spite of that, you know small groups are still the most efficient way to disciple, so you are committed to a resurrection. The question is, will you use a bulldozer or something with a bit more finesse?
The bulldozer method seems to be the approach most often used in the local church. You know how it is done: Preach up a storm about the need for effective small groups. Write articles for the newsletter. Try to convince a majority of the congregation who will trump any opposition if it comes to a vote. Do not forget to put a date on the calendar for small group leadership training.
Bulldozers are excellent pieces of equipment, but they tend to make a mess of the landscape, ruffle a lot of feathers, and create as many problems as they solve. On the other hand, finesse is a bit gentler, and it is certainly less confrontational. In my experience, it is a lot more effective when re-launching small groups.
In congregational reality, the difference between using a bulldozer and using finesse is only quantitative. Using a bulldozer means trying to get a lot of people on board at one time, typically by trying to bulldoze your way through the opposition. Finesse, on the other hand, means getting a lot of people on board one at a time. Just a subtle difference, but it could mean the difference between success and another failure.
Finessing a Re-Launch
Finessing your way into an effective small group movement means starting slowly. The goal is to get a lot of people ...