How to Gauge the Health of Your Small Groups Ministry

I’m asked all the time “what we should be measuring in our small group ministries?” Actually, more often than not, when I’m talking with small group pastors they tell me what they’re measuring and then ask me what I think.

Can I let you in on a little secret? They’re often measuring the wrong things. See also, Are You Working on the Right Things (to build a thriving small group minisry)?

It turns out that most of us are tracking what are called lag measures (i.e., percentage connected, number of groups, number of people in groups, span of care, etc.). Now don’t get me wrong. Lag measures need to be tracked. It’s just that they are the results of the strategies and tactics that actually need to be measured.

What needs to be measured? Lead measures.

“‘Lead’ measures, on the other hand, are different: They foretell the result. They have two primary characteristics. First, a lead measure is predictive, meaning that if the lead measure changes, you can predict that the lag measure also will change. Second, a lead measure is influenceable; it can be directly influenced by the team (p. 46-47).”

So if focusing on lead measures will help us achieve the major goals of our small group ministries…what might be an example or two of the right lead measures?

Example:

Let’s say your wildly important goal (WIG) is to move from 35 percent of your average adult worship attendance in groups to 55 percent of your average adult worship attendance in groups by November 15, 2017.

If that’s your goal, then the questions are:

  • “What are the strategies and tactics that are predictive (that is, if the lead measures change, the lag measure will also change)?”
  • “What are the strategies and tactics that are influenceable (that is, can be influenced directly by your team)?”

Predictive:

What are the activities (strategies and tactics) that will predict more groups and more people connected in groups? How about the following:

  • Plan and implement at least three successful launches that will start new groups between 11/7/16 and 9/15/17 (i.e., small group connection with all the trimmings in late January/early February, a short-term on-campus strategy two weekends after Easter ’17, and a church-wide campaign in September ’17).
  • Identify, recruit and develop a team of launch-phase coaches that will help your newest groups get off to a great start and continue meeting into their third curriculum.

Influenceable:

The right lead measures are influenceable. That is, your team can do the things that provide the greatest opportunity for success. And they can be measured.

  • Plan and implement at least three successful launches that will start new groups between 11/7/16 and 9/15/17. There are steps that can and must be taken to ensure that the launches are on the calendar; that the launches are promoted skillfully; and that the launches are not in competition with other events/programs. Need coaching? Consider signing up for my mini-course: How to Maximize YOUR Church-Wide Campaign.
  • Identify, recruit and develop a team of launch-phase coaches. Again, there are steps that can and must be taken to ensure that you have identified, recruited and developed a team that can actually do what needs to be done. Consider signing up for my mini-course: How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure.

I’ve been reading a great book. 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney. A fantastic book. I highly recommend it.

Resources to help you achieve these lead measures: