Mistake #7 – Failure to plan fellowships. My friend David Francis says that Sunday School occurs in “social space”. For many people, a Sunday School or small group is the place where many people interact with each other. At the last two fellowships of the group I attend, I discovered one couple who were going through a similar family experience as my family. At the second fellowship, we paused for prayer when we discovered a group member who was burdened for a child in her school. Fellowships provide a relaxed atmosphere that allows people to share.
Mistake #8 – Not following up on guests. I have discovered that this mistake is common everywhere. At a recent meeting of my peers, a leader shared his frustration. His family had moved to a new city and visited several churches. They filled out all the forms. Months later – not one contact from a single church. We are letting thousands of people, many of them lost, slip through our fingers because we are too lazy to make a couple of phone calls a week!
Mistake #9 – No nametags! Every person in your group, including the teacher, should wear a nametag every week! You may know everyone in your group and think you don’t need nametags. That is not the point! You wear nametags because you EXPECT guests every week and you want to help them feel comfortable. It is embarrassing to talk to someone when you can’t remember their name.
Mistake #10 – Hoarding your people. First, they’re not your people, they are God’s people. He created them for a purpose and I doubt that purpose was to sit in your group for the rest of their life. The greatest compliment a teacher can receive is when people leave the group to serve elsewhere. You’ve done your job! You’ve helped make a disciple. Be counter-cultural – encourage your people to leave!
Mistake #11 – Failure to launch. Okay, you knew that this was coming. Your group needs to start a new group. Period. Groups that start new groups understand their mission. New groups create new places for people to serve. New leaders are needed. Your group is reproducing itself. Any organism that does not reproduce means the end of the species. Take a look at the zenith of your church and where your church is now. How many groups did your church have in its heyday? My guess is that it had more groups then than it does now. As the group leader, you are the most important person when it comes to starting a new group. Don’t procrastinate, get a new group started.
Mistake #12 – Satisfaction. It is that simple. When a group gets satisfied it is on an icy, slippery slope to nowhere. Basically, when a group becomes satisfied, it has lost its purpose. The group has forgotten its mission. Your group’s mission is to make disciples, not grow old together. An indicator of whether your group is satisfied or not is this: How many people in your group were baptized this past year? A second indicator: How many of the group’s prayer requests are about themselves, and how many requests are for lost people, witnessing opportunities, and unreached people groups?