Alignment is Mission Critical
Of course this is something that I have heard taught in leadership circles my entire ministry career. It makes perfect sense. If the leadership in your organization don't all have a crisp and clear understanding of what your mission and vision are and hold to it tenaciously, you are in danger of drifting off your intended course.
Recently, I read an article about the dangers of unaligned small groups by Thom Rainer. It simply underscored what I have always believed. In our rush to cater to every whim of preference in our churches small group ministries, we have offered a plethora of choice to small group leaders when it comes to the materials that they study and discuss in their group environments. While some of this material may be excellent, by not having input we may be subconsciously sending the wrong messages and at the same time, missing a very important opportunity to place even higher priority on these formational experiences and to be strategic in our teaching across the board.
A couple of years ago, we decided to align all of our Community Life Group (small group) materials to the Sunday sermons that we preach each week, giving groups an opportunity to go deeper and to interact and discuss together around the subject material from Sunday's messages. Each week after our sermon preparation time, we develop a small group discussion guide that helps facilitators work through the material and the theme with their groups. This allows us to really underscore some important things with our group environments, not the least of which is our mission, vision, and values. We have also been able to take some of the important messaging that we try and get across on Sundays and seed it into the group materials each week so that those messages are really getting across.
The feedback has been exceptional, but more than that, the segment of our church community that are involved in groups are completely and totally aligned around the material that we are teaching week to week. This is not some new groundbreaking idea, but it has been one of the best decisions we ever made!
I encourage you to read Thom's article. He says it better than I could.