Take a test. Many surveys exist to help gauge the health and effectiveness of a group. Here are a few you might try:
After collecting the data from your group members, identify, as a group, two or three things you can do to strengthen your group, and then commit to putting them in to practice. You could easily practice one insight per month for the next three months.
Reviewing Your Entire Ministry
Getting feedback for individual small groups is one thing, but what about assessing an entire ministry? That’s a tougher task, but one that you can tackle. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to assess your entire ministry:
Engage both group leaders and members. Research has shown that team and group leaders often appraise the effectiveness of their groups much differently (higher!) than the members of those teams and groups. So, be sure you are hearing from group members, not just leaders.
Rely on more than one method. While surveys are great, they often don’t provide the context or the nuance that is really helpful. And while interviews and focus groups are great, they don’t necessarily represent your entire ministry. Try to engage both survey and interview or focus group data.
Ask good questions. This should go without saying, but be sure you are asking about what really matters to you and your ministry, rather than what someone else thinks you should ask about. And frame your questions in a way that allows people to give you the feedback you are really seeking.
Resist confirmation bias. Groups often suffer from a natural tendency to reinforce and favor preexisting values and beliefs rather than hold them up to real scrutiny. When that happens, groupthink occurs, and that’s not a good thing. Thus, in order to truly assess a ministry, it’s important to take off the protective goggles and find ways to solicit feedback from all angles. This certainly includes current group ember experiences but should also include those not yet connected to groups, and those who have stepped out of groups for whatever reason. Garnering as many perspectives as possible frees you from cognitive or systemic bias and allows you to get a realistic perspective on your ministry.
So, are you ready to get some feedback on your ministry? If so, we’ve got a great opportunity for you. Our Cultivating Thriving Small Groups study will enable you to compare what you say you want your ministry to be about to what is actually happening in your small groups. In fact, we follow our own advice, gathering multiple kinds of data from small group pastors, leaders, and members, and asking tough questions that will help you learn much about your small group ministry. We’d love to invite you to assess your small group ministry through your participation. Just maybe you’ll get the feedback you need to take your small group ministry to the next level.