Are you ever scared to read a book about your profession?  What if it gives you the feeling of failure, cause they are always written by “experts.”  Ha

Well I just finished reading through Activate, An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups by Nelson Searcy.  Although much of the material was not new to me, it was still a great evaluation of our ministry and noted several ideas that we can take a step further.   I did not get the feeling of failure, but of hope because some of the ideas and principles we are already practicing.  The ones mentioned that we are not practicing fall in one of two categories:  tried it–it failed–we killed it;  or  never tried it–may try it–remember this point.

For example:

Big Idea #5: think promotion months, not ongoing sign-ups.  This is something I have struggled with as a SBC, Sunday School educated leader.   Sunday School has on-going, open enrollment.  Small Groups by their nature are much more intimate and family oriented causing them to have seasons that may not be the best time to join the group.  With nearly 100 Small Groups, we always have some groups open and some closed.  But with the excitement of promotion months we have a goal, a time period, an event to look forward to when many people join groups and start new groups.

Big Idea #10:  Think apprentice, not expert.  WOW, what a relief when enlisting new HOSTs or Small Group Leaders.

Big Idea # 11Think Decentralization, not Staff Control.  This weekend is FBC Smyrna’s annual Connexus training event.  We are up against busy schedules, games, trips, family time, etc.  On Saturday we will introduce our new Small Groups Website where we will begin to decentralize our training program.  If this ministry is to grow, I have to let go, trust the leadership which God has sent and to whom we entrusted the ministry.

Fill Factor #1  One-step sign-ups, make it easy, not a bunch of requirements to get in a group.  People are wanting to dig deeper in God’s Word.  They want to be in community in a society where it is norm to not know people.  Help them connect by simplifying the process of joining.

I have bought this book for the Coordinators of GroupLife at FBC Smyrna.  I am asking them to read an idea a day.  Most of them are not readers.  Jon, very busy coach and super relational guy does not have time to read a big book.  He is reading the Bible daily, praying and watching for and developing potential leaders.  Brad, works 10 to 12 hours a day and has a new baby.  He spends his free-time playing with his daughters and designing new ways to ‘decentralize’ our training and communications.   Then there is Jenny, the most relational woman I know.   Who, if not related to everyone in our state, has taught them or is trying to trace a connection with them from years past. 🙂  She has connected and networked more ladies to SG and ministry than I could even imagine.  Sitting down, being still is difficult for Jenny (just like me-we a bit hyper) so reading a book is not her favorite hobby.

But each of them have agreed to read a Idea or Factor a day.  In 30-35 days they should complete the book.  They are reading it with an evaluation mind-set thinking about our ministry and what God is trying to show us.

I challenge you to lead your team, group, employees to read a book focused on your profession.  Spend time with them discussing the book and how the implications can impact your world.  Nelson has impacted our world with these 200 pages of ideas and strategies.