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April 27, 2009

Commitment as a Small Group Health Factor

Small group attendance can be measured and used to identify groups that are in trouble


While at the NEXT 2009 Saddleback Small Groups Conference in Atlanta, I had the chance to talk to Boyd Pelley of about measurements that help predict small group health. If you would like to hear my conversation with Boyd, click below:

According to Boyd, the "Aha" in all of this is the simple but often overlooked fact that group attendance, and the consistency of group attendance, is a big deal as it relates to group health. Groups that experience sporadic attendance, particularly when most of your group members attend 50% of the time or less, are groups that may be in trouble when it comes to spiritual health.

What potentially makes this very relevant is, of all things you can measure in group life, group attendance is one of the more easily obtained pieces of small group information.

My own experience would be consistent with Boyd's statements. Groups that have very inconsistent commitment are groups typically on the lower end of the spiritual health continuum. While that's my experience, I'm not familiar with any formal group life research that focuses specifically on the analysis of group consistency as a health factor.

What do you think? Are any of you using group commitment as a primary group health indicator?

posted by Dan Lentz on April 27, 2009 12:53 PM

Related Tags: attendance, Boyd Pelley, Dan Lentz, spiritual health


Yes and No. I measure group participation corporately with the filter of "active in a group" = >50% attendance (weekly). People not active in a group >50% are considered "associated" but not truly "active," and after 3 months the "associated" are declassified and considered disconnected. That is so when I do conduct semi-annual missional health assessments of the groups and compare that to congregational assessments I get more meaningful feedback that is truly based upon actual group participants.

I have found that the groups who faithfully meet weekly (we don't allow bi-weekly groups, although groups can have bi-weekly studies and just have alternating times of fellowship/prayer/activity/service) and that uphold a commitment expectation (establishing values is key) experience exponentially better growth both in intimacy and spiritual maturity within the group.

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