Why Some People Are Not Joining Small Groups

small groups seoA church with small groups wants everyone to join a small group. These churches understand the benefits of saints finding connection and being encouraged to grow as disciples through their groups. However, trying to get buy-in from everyone can become a frustrating task. Some people are resistant to the idea of joining a small group. Others are often shocked to hear these small groups even exist. Why is this? Why are some people in your church not joining the all-important ministry of small groups? I offer three main reasons:

1. People Do Not Know Your Church Offers Small Groups

Do you not find it amazing that some people have no clue your church has small groups? You have heard all the announcements and read all the emails. Honestly, how could someone not know? The truth is, no matter how much we think we are promoting something, we may not be promoting it enough. Think about it. All those emails . . . do you have an email address for every single person who attends your church? If not, some people never see that promotion. All those in-service announcements . . . do you say something about small groups in every service? Keep in mind that many people are not present to hear the announcement. According to Pew Research only fifty-eight percent of evangelicals/protestants attend church once a week. The same study says that forty-two percent attend once a month or less.

We must find new ways, better ways, and more creative ways to promote involvement in small groups and make the message clear how important they are. Click To Tweet

We must find new ways, better ways, and more creative ways to promote involvement in small groups and make the message clear how important they are. This leads to the second reason people are not joining small groups.

2. People Do Not See Value in Joining Small Groups

This is true for a lot of things. If we do not see value in something, we will likely not feel the desire to invest energy. It will seem a waste of time, and other pursuits will become more important.

Others may say they recognize the value in small groups,

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but they don’t feel like small groups are a fit for them. Maybe the introverts in your church are avoiding small group involvement because they don’t feel comfortable becoming part of a close-knit group, and they are afraid their personal space is going to get violated. They would much rather hide out in a large group setting. Other personality types may have their own excuses. Our challenge as a church, and as small group leaders, is to help people see the value that can be added to their lives and the value they bring to the group.

3. Small Group Ministry Is Just Another Program

Let’s face it: churches can have a lot of stuff going on. I remember as a teenager being at the church every night of the week except Saturdays. And I imagine there were probably things going on most Saturdays also. And as a youth, I loved it!

Church involvement is one reason we create programs and launch ministries.

Busyness at the church can be a good thing. Most pastors would feel great if they knew their saints were around the church often. Church involvement is one reason we create programs and launch ministries; we want people to remain connected to activities that will hopefully create opportunities for spiritual growth. But the truth is, life is crowded, and people are busy outside the church. Some busyness is unavoidable, but often people have overextended themselves with unnecessary activities. And these unnecessary things are keeping them from getting connected at church.

If we really feel small groups are important and crucial to the growth and maturity of the saints we serve, we must first take time to understand why they are not committing to groups. And then we must find ways to prove their priority, value, and purpose.

Jonathan McClintock is an author and the adult editor for Word Aflame Curriculum and The Discipleship Project. He also serves as campus pastor at Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology. Jonathan and his family live in St. Charles, Missouri.

Resources and Links

Follow to Lead, a small group resource

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