In order to gauge the effectiveness of the group, there are key markers that distinguish an effective group. At semi-regular intervals, it is important that you evaluate the group to ensure that there is effectiveness and consistency among the groups. The following are questions that we as a ministry will use to assess groups for effectiveness and consistency:
- How many people are in the group?
Ideally, we would want groups to operate with between 6 – 12 participants with an additional 2 – 3 leaders, meaning our groups should operate with no more than 15 people maximum. Once we reach 15 participants, our goal is to multiply that group into two groups of 7 – 8 with a new leader and co-leader. While these are the ideal numbers for group to operate, we understand that not every situation is ideal and that some groups operate with less than 6 participants or more than 12 participants.
- What type of group is it?
Our groups are topic specific; therefore, the curriculum that each group uses should match the focus of the group. We want to ensure that the group is covering the intended material to meet the needs of the group.
- Where is the group as a whole?
Our groups are open for individuals to enter at any point in the curriculum. An open group means that individuals might all be at different areas in their journey making the task of having the group function as one can be incredibly difficult. As a leader you must be aware of the groups progress in group formation stage and help direct the group in helpful conversations so that they are better able to function as one.
- Where is each group member?
Open groups such as those in G4 allow members to join at any point in the curriculum which means that some individuals will be at a different place in the curriculum in their individual journey. While the group will work together on the curriculum in group, individuals might be working at a different pace in their personal journey. For a group leader, knowing where each member is in their journey might be the most difficult because of the number of members in the group. Taking time to listen to each participant to evaluate their progress is incredibly valuable.
- What can the group celebrate?
Celebrating growth in a group can be incredibly important and lead to an increase in the groups cohesion. Whether celebrating the group as a whole or celebrating individuals within the group, this can serve as encouragement for those participants who have been discouraged because of their lack of progress. What are goals individuals have been working towards that when achieved can be celebrated and encouraged during group time?
- What are the pressure points or struggles in the group?
Where is it possible that your group might be stuck? As a leader, it is important to look forward towards potential areas that might lead the group to become stuck. During the early stages of group development groups might be unwilling to be completely open and transparent with one another and might require direct conversation around the topic of group cohesion. Group leaders must be willing and able to confront these areas as they come up.