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), SmallGroups.com has conducted live surveys 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 SmallGroups.com surveys on the subject of training small-group leaders.
When asked what the "primary" small-group leader development strategy was in their church:
- 44 percent of respondents use apprenticeship under another group leader
- 27 percent use frequent group leader training gatherings coupled with one-on-one follow-up
- 14 percent said their leaders are responsible for their own training (books, internet, conferences, etc.)
- 12 percent form short-term training small groups (turbo groups) to train leaders
- 3 percent said they recommend curriculum or video resources that train leaders on the job.