Our Group or Your Group?
People want to go to our group–not your group. The groups that thrive practice shared ownership. If the leader does everything, the group will flounder.
This is one of the "surprising discoveries" from the research of 1800 small group leaders that Jim Egli and I conducted in 2016 and that will be published in our 2017 book called Groups that Thrive: 7 Surprising Discoveries about Life-giving Small Groups. The new research adds to Egli’s previous investigation of over 3,000 cell leaders and dives deeper into the small group itself–what does or does not make a healthy, thriving small group. The one ingredient that stood above the other key factors was empowerment. The six other discoveries were important but empowering each member was the crucial factor. If the members are actively participating, the group moves from being owned by the leader to the members–and the result is a thriving cell group.
Kim and Kim Cole love cell ministry and have been part of one since York Alliance Church began their transition in the late 1980s. They’ve also multiplied their cell many times. I visited their group several years ago and was surprised that they did not lead the lesson, nor any part of the group. I found out later that it wasn’t their turn. Others led the ice-breaker, worship, and lesson. During the refreshment time I asked them why they weren’t leading, and they told me that the members rotate each month in leading the different parts of the group. The people owned the group. They didn’t see it as Cole’s group; it was their group.
One of the key reasons why Kim and Kim Cole have multiplied their group so many times is because members feel empowered. The fact is that people want to be involved. It’s not the group of one person; it’s everyone’s group. The leader does a great disservice by doing too much and trying to control the group.
Small groups, in fact, are the perfect setting for everyone to participate and grow. Jesus chose this atmosphere and the early church thrived in the house church setting for several centuries. Converting members into ministers is a biblical theme. Scripture says that each believer is a priest of the living God (Revelation 1:6), has at least one spiritual gift (1 Peter 4:9), and is a minister (Ephesians 1:4-5).
Empowering your members will create group ownership and turn your group into a healthy, dynamic one.
In the month of February, we’ll talk about what it means to help your group take ownership. If you’d like to receive December blogs in your email, click here. Here are the themes we’ll cover in December
- February 05-11: Biblical base for empowering each member. Since biblical small groups make disciples, the best way for this to happen is to give people responsibilities and then monitor how they do. Jesus Christ modeled this by allowing his disciples to interact, ask questions, and giving them responsibility.
- February 12-18: Steps to help people to get involved. Effective cell leaders proactively ask people to get involved in each part of the cell group. They offer lots of encouragement and some private correction. The best cell leaders function more as coaches because they are committed to empowering each member.
- February 19-25: The gifts of the Spirit and people’s involvement. The context for all the gift passages is the small group or house church. Effective cell leaders empower each member by helping each one identify his or her spiritual gift and then use it inside and outside of the group.
- February 26-March 04: The fruit of empowering people is multiplication. Giving birth to new groups is the result of turning members into ministers through active involvement. Members are ready to form new teams when they are confident in leading each part of the group, operating in their gifts, and have completed the church-wide equipping.
What are doing to empower the members of your group. In what areas do you need to improve? Share your experiences here.
Joel Comiskey’s 2016 book, Youth in Cell Ministry, is available now for purchase. Read introduction and chapters here
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2017 JCG Event in Reseda, California
- We will have our annual JCG event in the Elim Reseda Church, on February 25, 2017. Mario Vega and Joel Comiskey will be ministering in Spanish and simultaneous English translation will be available. Sign up now for $49.00 ($59.00 at door).
2017 JCG Event in Falls Church, Virginia
- We will be holding our second JCG conference in Virgina/Washington D.C. area at the Elim Church Virginia area on September 02, 2017. You can register here.
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