However, I would like to offer some basic questions to help move the conversation forward:
- To what degree are our groups experiencing God's presence when they gather together?
- How are groups being led to minister outside of predetermined expectations and meet needs spontaneously?
- How are groups working through conflict and difficult relational situations?
- How frequently are people within groups sharing meals together outside of official meetings?
- What specific actions are individuals taking to simplify their lives so that they will have time to share in community life with others?
- How are people using their money in unique ways to invest in redemption?
- How are groups and individuals investing in relationships in their neighborhoods?
- How are groups and individuals embracing the poor and seeking to bring redemption to the social outcasts?
- What kinds of sacrifices are people making to be shaped by God for leadership?
When I started asking questions like this, the numbers questions by themselves became dissatisfying. I still ask them, but the purpose for them is different. I ask numbers questions to understand how people are moving into the vision of asking these "rule of life" questions. The answers to both sets of questions might reveal that most people want only a form of normal small-group life where they only attend meetings. There is a clarion call to something distinctively different, something that Jesus called the Kingdom of God, and this second set of questions gives us a practical way to determine how we are doing with this Kingdom life.
Scott Boren is author of The Relational Way: From Small-Group Structures to Holistic Life Connections.
—Scott Boren, copyright © 2008 by the author and www.SmallGroups.com.