The key to having a healthy church is having a healthy and effective small group ministry. When your members and attendees feel like they belong, when they experience all the benefits of community, they are not only going to keep coming back to church. They are going to plug into the church in other ways because it will start to feel like home.
That being said, the health of your small group ministry at your church should be a prime focus for you and your staff. So with that in mind, here are three ways you can increase your church’s involvement in small groups and therefore increase the health of your small group ministry.
Go first - The importance of small groups isn’t something you can just tell people to do from the pulpit. You and other church leaders also have to model small group involvement. If your congregation hears you talking about getting into a small group, but then they find out you’re not participating in a small group community, your words become void.
So be willing to go first and get involved in a small group if you’re not already. As you do, you’ll also be able to share personal, encouraging stories about how your small group has positively impacted your life when you’re challenging others to get plugged into a group as well.
Offer variety - Small groups are not a “one-size-fits-all” part of your church. Therefore it’s vital that you offer different types of small groups in order to give people options on how to plug-in. Maybe you offer some small groups that discuss each week’s sermon and dive deeper into Sunday morning content. Maybe you offer other groups who do a book study of a book of the Bible or a video study by another Christian author or pastor. You can also offer short-term groups that are based on certain topics or seasons of life (marriage groups, parenting groups, single-mom groups, etc.) that only run for 6-8 weeks. Regardless of what you choose to offer at your church, it’s important that there is a variety of groups for your congregation to choose from.
Simplify sign-up - You want to make it as easy as possible for your members to sign up for small groups. This means that sign-up should be simplified, rather than a hassle. This is where your church website becomes your best friend. You can create a page on your website that displays a list of all the small groups your church offers, a description of each group, and the option to sign up for groups directly on the site.
Additionally, if you’re doing a push for small-group involvement from the stage on Sunday morning, have a table or booth in the lobby after the service with volunteers who can answer any questions and help people sign up for groups at that moment. The goal is to do whatever you can do to make the sign-up process easy and hassle-free for your attendees.