Sometimes people will not be willing or able to take part in your small group because of barriers that are in place.
You might not recognize many of them as barriers because they could be enablers from your perspective.
Types of Barriers
Examples of potential barriers are:
- Meeting location
- Meeting day, time, and length
- Babysitting availability
- Homework required
- Cost of materials
- Expectation of spiritual maturity
- Bible study topics
These are just a few reasons why your group members may not be able to participate effectively and regularly. There may also be reasons that potential members who you are reaching out to are not able to participate.
It’s a good idea from time to time to examine potential barriers that could keep your small group from thriving.
6 Steps to Eliminating Barriers
How do you identify and address the unrealized barriers you may have in place that the group should consider knocking down? Consider following these 6 steps as a group:
- Prayerfully review your small group’s purpose about what God wants to do through the group.
- Identify any barriers that have the potential of keeping the group and group members from fulfilling your purpose and being all that God intends. Be sure to look at this from the perspective of those you want to reach and have involved. I’ve given you a list of several potential barriers that I thought of off the top of my head for this article, but you will be able to come up with several more.
- Define the negative impact or consequence each barrier could cause. For example, holding small group meetings during daytime hours may exclude anyone who works during the daytime from attending your small group meetings.
- Determine the likelihood that the barriers will cause a problem with current small group members as well as prospects that you want to reach. The reason to do this is to determine whether you should be concerned about those areas that have a significant consequence. If the likelihood is close to zero, then going to heroic efforts to eliminate the barrier may be unnecessary.
- For each of the barriers that have a significant consequence and likelihood, come up with several options on how you can reduce or eliminate the barrier. Have a conversation about each option and determine the best one.
- Determine if/when you will carry out the preferred option for each barrier.
As you attempt to break down barriers, watch what happens. Did it have the effect you intended? If not, you may need to try another method.
What is important is that you stay focused on God’s purpose for your small group and make it as easy as possible for members and prospects to attend and grow in response to that purpose.
Question: what are some barriers you are aware of that have discouraged or prevented people from participating in a small group? You can leave a comment by clicking here.