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Messing With Success—A Small-Group Audit

by Zach Below

No one wants to be audited. Just ask anyone who has ever done his own taxes; the very word sends a shudder down one’s back. Audits are uncomfortable. They dig deep and require you to investigate and evaluate beyond what simply lies at the surface. Yet out the other side stands truth and progress.

When it comes to church practices, taking a closer look can be a touchy endeavor because many of these practices have become “sacred cows.” However, we have to recognize where we are missing the mark before we can innovate new solutions and unleash the power of groups. It’s time to prod the cow.

If you’ve had any exposure to small groups, you’ve heard words like “authentic,” “accountability,” and “life together” thrown around to describe them. We have to ask ourselves:

  1. Are these descriptors truly valid?
  1. Should these words even be the pursuit of small groups?
  1. Do we really believe that our groups, as they are currently expressed, are reaching their full potential?


For many churches out there and for many pastors out there, small groups work. They are considered successful, and people aren’t raising a big fuss about them. I know from my own ministry experience that there are more than enough fires to put out without starting to dissect ministry expressions that are actually working. This is completely valid thinking. However, the success of small groups is exactly why we SHOULD be looking deeper into them. Church leaders try so many things (activities, programs, and fellowship opportunities, to name a few), all searching for something that will stick and be a game-changer when it comes to bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ. The awesome thing is that small groups do that, which is exactly why we need to protect groups. It is why we need to examine groups and find out how we can continue to make them stronger.

We asked adults where they struggle most when it comes to their faith, and here’s what they said:
  • Navigating the Bible,
  • Praying, and
  • Knowing God’s will
The Deepening Faith Small-Group Bundle will help you and your small group Bible study dig in to these three areas in tangible ways.

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Messing With Success—A Small-Group Audit

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