As you turn your focus to ministry growth, take some time to lay a solid foundation and watch your group flourish!
Share in the comments below! What are your thoughts on growth and where is your ministry headed?
Clarify what you mean by growth. First, consider the types of growth that are possible. Often in our churches, we associate growth with numbers. This is one form of growth. Maybe that is the growth your group is primed for.
But, ask yourself and your leaders: What other ways is our group longing to grow?
Perhaps your group needs to grow in vulnerability. Or maybe your group needs to grow in service. Maybe your group needs to grow in biblical literacy.
When we become focused on one form of growth, we lose our ability to see what other invitations to growth are present. And the exciting thing is that one type of growth will affect all the others.
For example, when we grow in numbers, the depth of relationships will be more difficult to maintain. Then, a new form of growth is necessary for finding new ways to connect within a larger group.
Often we talk about how our unique gifts prepare and guide us. This is so true. We are equipped with a specific fingerprint, so to speak, that colors our work. Let’s go a step deeper to where your beliefs reside. After all, it is our beliefs that influence the way we use our gifts.
What do you believe and feel about group size? Without any judgment, ask yourself this question. Do this assessment, because whatever you think and feel about group size impacts how you interact with your group’s growth.
For example, imagine that a leader believes a small ministry is better because it’s unique, higher quality, distinctive, and more deeply connected. That belief will limit the possibility of the ministry to get larger.
On the other hand, a leader may see a small ministry as embarrassing, sad, pathetic, and pointless. If numbers start dropping, shame and fear will begin to drive leadership in their decisions. And shame and fear will never lead to health in ministry.
It’s easy to get into an either/or mindset. But, the truth is neither small nor large is better. Lean into the faithfulness of God to be already at work no matter what the numbers are. There is no wrong direction. Large and small ministries both have their value and gifts.
The small ministry, for example, does make for more natural connection in the group. You, as a leader, get to know the families and kids on a more personal level. Coordinating events and trips is often more straightforward with a ministry on the small side.
A larger ministry offers more possibility in terms of programming. The momentum and size give it social currency, especially when kids invite their friends. And kids who want to be a part of something but don’t want to be too noticed can feel more comfortable.
Let Go, Remain Open
What do you believe about your own ability to lead? If your group is currently small and you wish it was bigger, think about this: do you think you have what is necessary within you to lead a larger group of kids? If you don’t think you’ll be able, you will find ways to minimize growth to stay in the safe zone.
Growing a ministry can feel like a big responsibility. And there are a lot of plates to keep spinning, especially in the stage of growth. There are several reasons for this. One, during growth, most churches haven’t yet invested the funding for a larger group. Two, enough leadership is hard to come by when the church is used to doing very little. Three, the ministry head is responsible for doing most everything.
So, wondering if you have what it takes is a good question and one worth asking. If you believe you can’t lead a larger ministry than you have now, an increase in numbers will be difficult. On the other hand, if you think you are prepared and able, growth will happen more easily.
If you find yourself limiting the potential of your ministry because you’re afraid of growth, what would it look like to let go of expectations and fear? How about finding motivation in the purpose of your ministry rather than an external indicator of success, such as numbers.
And if breaking into smaller groups from one larger group is where you’re ministry is at, follow that path. What if we all let go of the fear that change won’t work or that one size of group or another is worse?
Follow the Spirit’s Leading
Without judgment, get still and ask God where your ministry is being called. The Spirit’s leading doesn’t always align with our rational mind, so be open and ready to follow. Where we end up heading isn’t always what we assume. And remember it isn’t either/or.
Size is not the point, to be entirely honest. God is moving always everywhere. Be open to where you’re heading, but stay present to what is. Enjoy the beauty and gifts that are held within your group now. Invest in those, because they will help your group flourish no matter the size.
And don’t forget! We want to hear from you. So, share in the comments below. What are your thoughts on growth and where is your ministry headed?