Small Groups Aren't For Everyone
I received an email from Dan, a Granger attendee who had a question about small groups. He asked: "I was wondering what systems we have in place at GCC to accomplish building small groups...In a large church like ours, I think getting people into healthy small groups is critical for the spiritual growth of believers."
We decided a couple years ago to start putting all our efforts to get people in small groups through one primary avenue: "Starting Point". That's why you'll hear us every couple of months or so make a big push for Starting Point groups that begin soon. They typically meet the first night on campus, then get grouped and meet the rest of the weeks in homes. About 60% of the groups continue meeting after the initial 6 to 8 week commitment is complete. It has been pretty effective. We launch scores of these groups every year.
Of course another very effective tool is shoulder-tapping. Where people who are already in groups tap the shoulder of someone new and invite them to join the group. That works as well as the particular group decides to make it work.
Another note -- we decided at Granger a few years ago not to make groups the only path for spiritual maturity. In many churches you'll hear them say "everyone needs to be in a group." We don't say that. A small group isn't the path for everyone. We say that a small group is a great way to grow spiritually. Also, New Community on Thursday nights is a great way to grow spiritually. Also, there are a whole bunch of resources (books, CD's, podcasts, etc.) available online or in a Christian bookstore that might be a great way to grow spiritually. We try to put the outcome (i.e. spiritual growth) out there instead of the specific path.
If you want more information on Granger's small groups and discipleship process, here are two great blogs to follow...