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Weigh In: Volume 20 – Splitting Up a Big Small Group?

 —  May 30, 2012 — 6 Comments

From time to time I post a question that comes into the blog for YOU to answer. What advice would you give this youth pastor who is asking about a good problem – but still definitely a problem. Was hoping you could weigh in with your thoughts, too. Weigh in!

We have a few groups that are growing to the point where it is unsustainable for the two leaders that are already in place.  I’m looking for thoughts on what others would do in a similar circumstance.  Splitting the group is one thing we DON’T want to do.  Do we just add more leaders to the existing group?  Add a new group with no one in it and only add new students there?  I was just curious if you had any thoughts and if this was something anyone else is struggling with?

How would you answer her?

JG

Josh Griffin

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6 responses to Weigh In: Volume 20 – Splitting Up a Big Small Group?

  1. This isnt going to sound like advice because it’s after the fact but i have recently learned this lesson from my executive pastor.
    Matthew 9:37-38 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
    When you get the new workers, split the group with one leader going each direction and taking a new leader with them. Challenge the current leaders to apprentice the new leaders. Also, our definitions of a small group may be different so I will just encourage you to evaluate what you mean when you say small group. If the size of the group hinders the reason for the group, a split may be required to maintain your vision. The proactive plan would have been to have the leaders in place before the group got too big but I know how “abundant” good leaders can be at some churches. Either way, don’t let your fears guide you. If it is about His glory, let Him deal with the fear.
    Footnotes:

  2. It’s a difficult situation in the fact that I think the group needs to split; however, you have to empower them to make the decision. If you just come in and split them up it’ll be a shock and you’ll receive a bunch of feedback. For the long term it’s good to talk to groups about multiplying because it’s about growing God’s kingdom through small groups. In the short term, talk to your leaders about group multiplication, get them on board and then with them talk to the students about why it’s important.
    I’ve struggled and failed, but also seen success in this.

  3. If the mere mention of splitting the group scares some people, it’s probably because they are afraid of the unknown. I know in my own youth group, when we ended up splitting up the Middle and High School students, there was a lot of concern. They had always been together and they didn’t like the idea of change. But in the end, it was the best decision to go with because it freed up the individuals in each group to grow into even larger groups than they were together.

  4. It’s always a hard decision to split a small group. I had to make this decision recently. We had three leaders in the group along with 20 sixth grade boys. It began to be a rather large “small” group. There were a number of problems that arose with that size of a group. Two things come to mind at first…
    1. No time for input/discussion
    2. Distraction

    With 20 kids plus three leaders, there was almost no time for discussion for lots of the kids. In turn, I believe lots of the kids got bored and therefore were distracted.
    There can obviously be more problems that arise — but with what I noticed after three weeks of having 20 kids, it was too much, so we split.

  5. Great feedback … this is super helpful, all! JG

  6. I agree with everything said about splitting small groups but I also assume that you have specific reasons fro wanting this group to stay intact. Only you can know what’s right for your group. One solution that comes to mind is to have your small group split into “smaller groups”. In other words have that group meet together for awhile and hang out then do an upstairs/downstairs thing in the same space so that provides this larger group with the same level of intimacy they would have in a smaller group.

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