Is There a 50% Barrier?


An article appeared on my computer that talked about how to increase the small group participation in your church.  If I had read the article, I would have discovered how to break the “50% participation barrier” that evidently is really hard to break. I never heard of the “50% participation barrier,” have you? I have a book on my shelf that claims 100% participation in small groups if a church will only follow its plan. I admit that I’m pretty turned off by those kinds of statements. Rather than evaluate the success of a small group by the percentage of a church’s people involved, I’m much more likely to ask questions about how people are demonstrating discipleship and mission in their lives. How are people growing in spiritual disciplines? How many are inviting friends to try out the group? How deep are the relationships within the group? How does the group care for one another and their neighbors?

Maybe I should read the article and the book to find out what I’m missing. Better yet, maybe some of you have thoughts on this. Are you concerned about breaking the “50% barrier?” If so, what are you doing to break through it?

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I believe it has to be 'easy' to join a group; then concentrate on the quality of each group as Ruth states.

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 We're encouraging small groups again (we have some functioning already). I'd love to hear more specifically what you would consider "easy" when you say to make it easy to join. 

 Many members in our church are quite busy and having another 'meeting' every month or so is not for them!

Simple invitations and then let people go to a small group is best without trying to force members to come.

 Mavis, you asked a great question. "What it mean to make groups easy to join?" A few things come to mind. Small group choices and how to join them need to be communicated clearly and often. This can be done through newsletters, bulletins, lobby displays, websites, Facebook, personal invitations etc. Many churches launch new small groups a couple of times a year, often Sept. and Jan. During these "launches" people who are not in a group are given the opportunity to join a new or existing group. Also, people need to know that they are free to try a different group if they'd like to. Who wants to be stuck in a group where they are uncomfortable? This requires some thick skin on the leader's part, but in the long run is better for everybody involved. Often groups have natural breaking points at summer and Christmas. These are good opportunities to give people the freedom to move to another group or start a new one.

Aguilla1 makes a great point. The easiest way for people to join a group is through a simple invitation.

Anybody else want to share in idea or two?

This conversation reminds me what Jesus told the rich man to due if he wanted to follow Him. If lifes demands and whether or not a group is to our comfort level or that there is even the concept of a barrier preventing God from accomplishing something means we haven't (sold) are other riches. We all do it without a thought. Small group attendence and ridding our fear of demonstrating our faith to strangers, the stronger our faith becomes. After all the Holy Spirit does the work.  we have small part to play as open vessel willing to reach out to all people.