Scheduled reports and incarnation. The way to build or rebuild trust.

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 5/11/21 10:45 AM

A few weeks ago, in a blog post entitled Groups consistency, I talked about using attendance as a sign that points to faithfulness.  And faithfulness is a pre-requisite character quality for choosing leaders who multiply the ministry.  (2 Timothy 2:2)

In the same way, attendance is a sign for pastors and church staff that something may be going on in a person's life they are called to shepherd.

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Tags: Small Groups, Reports

Group consistency, a report upgrade, & automation.

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 4/13/21 3:00 PM

In discipleship discussions, we often quote 2 Timothy 2:2 as a pillar text for understanding discipleship that multiplies disciples.  The idea, of course, is that Paul invested in training Timothy and was encouraging him to invest in other people who would invest in others.  

Notice the adjective that Paul uses to describe the people in whom Timothy was to invest his time.  Depending on your translation, the word is generally reliable (NIV, NLT), or faithful (ESV, NASB, KJV).  It is someone in whom you trust.

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Tags: New Release, Small Groups, Reports

Setting Security For Different Types Of Groups

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 6/23/20 11:00 AM

Churchteams was built around the idea of growing a church using groups as the common building material for every ministry. This means that everything that involves more than one person is managed as a group. 

Every worship service, small group, class, committee, ministry team, leadership team, service team, mission team, event, and even assimilation step is managed as a group. 

This is one of the design constructs that makes our software unique, powerful and user-friendly.  Once understood, ministry rocks of all sizes are formed together to become a solidly built organization.

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Tags: Small Groups, Best Practices

Upgrade: Groupfinder Embed

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 3/3/20 10:15 AM
Communication coordinators are sometimes concerned about using hyperlinks that move people away from the website to other applications. 
Link Builder (under Communication tab) creates links or code to display a set of groups; like a small group groupfinder, list of mission opportunities, or upcoming youth events.  You pick the set of groups / events using the group profile questions and it builds both a link and iframe embed code for that set of groups.   See arrow below.
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Tags: New Release, Small Groups

Aim Small:  The Growthfinder Assessment

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 1/14/20 9:49 AM

Last  fall I started a blog series on Small Groups called Aim Small.  My hope with this series is to bring together our best learnings about managing small groups that make disciples. 

In the last post, I showed you how attendance helps you recognize the trust level in your groups.  Like heat  is vital to baking bread, so trust is essential to authentic relationships.  

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Tags: Small Groups

Trust In Groups:  Why It Matters & How To Measure It

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 11/19/19 9:30 AM

A friend of ours Damon Stoddard, a master black belt six sigma expert in Seattle, was volunteering to lead the groups ministry in his church about a decade ago when he called to ask me if I thought that TRUST would be a good way to measure the health of a small group.

 I was familiar with Patrick Lencioni's book on the Five Dysfunctions of A Team that identified Trust as the foundation upon which a team is built.  But,  had never heard anyone suggest applying trust to evaluating the health of small groups.  I thought it was a brilliant idea and told him that I thought it would be a great measure for group health.

He then pointed out to me that one of the leading indicators of trust in relationships is consistency and asked if we could measure the consistency of a group.  A few years earlier, we started calculating the average attendance per group whether they met once or five times that month1.  So, all we needed was another column to divide that number by the enrollment in the group.

Think about this for a moment.  If you are going to live out the "One Anothers" in your small group.  If you are going to do "life together" with someone else. You are going to have to TRUST yourself to them.  That's how discipleship works.  Spiritual transformation is only going to happen if you trust those helping you achieve it.

Who are you going to trust? Friends that are consistently there for you. Faithful people who you are going to entrust your life message to (2 Timothy 2:2). Though just showing up isn't the full equation to measure trust, it is a very measurable indicator.  

Damon's next question helped us sharpen the measure, "at what consistency rate would you say a group is healthy and unhealthy?"  I had been leading small groups in churches for 18 years at that point and quickly responded. 2

80 to 100% Consistency = Healthy

Under 50% Consistency = Unhealthy

We sent him the data for his church.  He did the analytics and discovered that 5/12 groups were above 80%, 4 were between 50 and 80%, and 3 were below 50%.  So, he got his pastor and went to the 3 groups and discovered that all 3 of them had issues they needed help with.

Within a few months we created our Monthly Small Group Health report that we email to our clients who want it for their church.  It's an Excel spreadsheet that adds a new sheet each month with a summary of group health within a ministry area.

Groups are organized by consistency rate, not alphabetically.  Blue zone groups average 80% and above.  These people love their group.  They even plan their vacation around group times. These are your leadership development groups.  

Yellow zone groups are your average groups.  Nothing outstanding generally, but also nothing to necessarily worry about.  The Red zone groups are your focus groups for the next month.  If the small group pastor / director and coaches don't do anything else this month, they need to know what's up with these groups.

Of course the output of the data is only as good as the input.  But through trial and error with hundreds of churches we've developed a system to get 100% response from group leaders each week.  It combines technology people are already committed to with a system of accountability appropriate to each leadership level.  Join me for a Small Group Webinar to learn more.     


1  Small groups that meet in homes don't necessarily meet every week like traditional adult Sunday School classes do.  This skews monthly attendance.  To solve this we developed a metric that uses the sum of the average attendance (blue) instead of the average of the weekly summed attendance (red).  This is a far better way to compare tradition Adult Sunday School numbers to small group numbers.  

2 For larger groups that typically meet in classroom like Adult Sunday School we generally lower the percentage rate for health by 20 points.  i.e. for "Small" Groups of 20 or more:

60 to 100% Consistency = Healthy

Under 30% Consistency = Unhealthy

So a typical Adult Sunday School of 30 is still considered in the Blue Zone with an average of 18 and in the Red Zone when it averages 9 or les.


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Tags: Small Groups

Aim Small:  Metrics for 3 Levels of Leadership

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 10/1/19 9:27 AM

When I was on church staff, at the end of every month I would put together a small group summary for our leadership team to review.  I would run the "Attendance by Group" report in Churchteams and paste the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet.  Then I would copy and edit the formulas to complete the report.  It took most of a day.

After a couple of years doing this every month and many conversations with other small group pastors, we automated this report so that it is delivered to your inbox every month.  In developing it, we realized that every church needs feedback from their database for 3 different levels of leadership.  All of these are included in this Monthly Small Group Report.

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Tags: Small Groups

Aim Small:  Groups Pastor

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 9/24/19 9:26 AM

We are working our way up the small group organizational chart to learn how Churchteams can be used to serve the pastoral care and leadership development needs at each level.  This post focuses on the Small Groups Pastor and their relationship to their coaches. 

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Tags: Small Groups

Aim Small: Coaches

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 9/17/19 8:57 AM

Coaches is a fairly common term used in small group ministry circles to identify mentor/shepherds who oversee many small groups.  In some churches they are called Directors, Coordinators, Ministry Leaders, Community Shepherds, etc..  In military terms if small group leaders are Sargeants, Coaches are the Lieutenants.

We started with a passion for helping churches make multiplying disciples and realized from the very beginning that this coaching level was key to building and ensuring consistency in the execution of a church's vision.  

Here's how Churchteams helps churches "Aim" their coaches.


Rear Sight - How To Find And Organize Coaches

The obvious place to start looking for coaches is among your group leaders.  You are looking for leaders with experience who also have an elementary understanding of the discipleship objectives of group life.  You can use data to help you find group leaders with the gift of leadership, encouragement or discernment for instance.  

Set up your coaching organization by clicking groups then Coach Area.  If the Coach term has been customized (Settings / Basic Settings, step 1), you will see that name in the circled position.

On the next page find and add the people who serve this role in your church. 

Once you choose a coach, you can click on their name to go to their coaching page and add in the groups that they oversee.  This becomes the coach's hub for tracking and communicating with their leaders.

Add in an additional level of oversight by selecting Staff Area (or similar term) and choosing the Coaches that the staff person oversees.  This becomes the staff's page for tracking and communicating with their coaches.  

Click on the Reports button in the black navigation bar across the top, then choose Organizational Chart to see your entire ministry organizational structure.  It will look like this:

Besides giving you a visual overview of your ministry structure, setting up the organization this way also:

  1. Copies Groupfinder generated emails sent to leaders to the upline coach and staff.
  2. Sends copies of group meeting reports to their upline coach and staff.

Front Sight - How To Build Culture And Train Coaches

A coaching culture is built by training on values, using common language and embracing common tools.  

Training on the vision and values of small groups and small group coaching is essential for building culture.  Otherwise, every leader is doing their own thing and the ministry feels disjointed.  Here are four ways to use Churchteams to develop training structure and feedback depending on training approaches.

  1. Create an event or group and use the Registration features for open-ended invitations.
  2. Use the RSVP feature for a closed group of invitees to accept or decline participation.
  3. Benchmark training course completion using member attributes.  
  4. Use attendance reports to track ongoing coaches meetings.  Helps track consistency which is an indicator of commitment. 

Training with ongoing gatherings builds the values and language for coaches. Churchteams is the common tool for execution and communication.  This happens as coaches embrace it for monthly reporting on their interactions with leaders.  Go to Settings / Groups / Email Reminders to find the option to Enable Coach email reminders.  You can even edit up to 4 times per month for them to receive these.  

Coaches are sent an email that provides a link back to their Coaching page and a list of their leaders.  One click on a leader's name takes the coach to a page to enter a coaching note on their interaction with that leader.  These can be reviewed on the coaching page.  They are used to track things like praises, problems and plans for the leader and their group.

We will talk more about using coaching reports to help the small group  pastor(s) develop coaches in the next post.  The goal for this section is to demonstrate how to setup and embrace  Churchteams as the common tool for executing a coaching culture.


Target - How To Track Leader Development

The purpose of the coaching reports is to help coaches track their objective and interactions with group leaders.  These notes become a leadership development trail that helps coaches mentor and shepherd their leaders.

Because the coach is copied in on the meeting report from each leader each time their group meets, they are seeing how a leader interacts with his/her people.  Used optimally, this report reminds the coach to pray for that leader.  Often in the course of prayer the Lord gives the coach other insights that are helpful for mentoring that leader.  A  simple reply back in the email gives the coach a way to instantly share the insight. Then by clicking a link on their coach report, the coach enters the same insight as a note on the leader's member record and schedules a follow up reminder.

Another best practice is for the small group pastor to give coaches access to a "Potential Leader" group.  When a coach spots someone they think might be a potential leader, they have permission to add that person to this group.  It's a great way to keep funneling people into the leadership pipeline.

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Tags: Small Groups

Aim Small: Leaders

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 9/10/19 8:37 AM

Remember that aim small means aligning the sight closest to you with the sight at the end of the barrel and the intended target.  Aiming group leaders starts by selecting people in your circle, training  them to be authentic in how they live and communicate, and giving them spiritual growth targets to aim for.

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Tags: Small Groups

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