Benchmarks: Growth in Small Groups

Check out these statistics to get your finger on the pulse of small-groups ministry.

Definition: Benchmarking is a tool used to measure or compare your work or progress with others who are doing the same thing. Benchmarking is a powerful tool because it overcomes "paradigm blindness"—the mode of thinking that says, "The way we do it is the best because this is the way we've always done it."

Because it is difficult to get a handle on what is going on in other small groups outside of your own (or your own church), does live surveys each month on a variety of small-group topics. The purpose of these surveys is to uncover a sense of what is going on in small groups around the world, and particularly in North America.

These surveys are not intended to be a scientific sample of those involved in small groups. And benchmarking—or comparing your small group to other small groups—is not intended to be a substitute for the Holy Spirit's work and guidance in your group. However, knowing what other small groups are doing can be a helpful diagnostic tool and can show what God is up to within the larger small-group movement.

With that in mind, here are some results of surveys on the subject of starting and growing small groups.

Group Beginnings

When asked, "What brought the people in your small group together?"

  • 33 percent of respondents said their group formed around a specific affinity—singles, newcomers, couples, and so on
  • 29 percent said their group was formed through placement (another person assigned members to groups)
  • 15 percent said their group was formed around geography (where group members lived)
  • 9 percent said their group was formed around a cause or task (ushers, worship team, and so on)
  • 14 percent of groups formed by some other means

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