NEED MEETING & How the Holmes-Rahe Scale Gets Small Groups & Teams Involved In Need-meeting

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/6/15.

Did you know that you can create outreach-orientated small groups and teams that will not only get more volunteers involved, but also meet the needs of those outside of the congregation?  I call these “need-based small groups and teams.”

Below is a chart that ranks a list of crises that lead people to want to change their life (based on the Holmes-Rahe Scale of Social Readjustment and the work of Flavil Yeakley at the University of Illinois on how a type of social readjustment is often spiritual transformation, see the citation below).

The crises in column one nearer the top are more likely to result in personal transformation.  God may have created us this way so that when calamity strikes people will seek Him.

CureForCommonChurchTake a look a the chart and decide to re-focus your small groups and teams to meet some of the more pressing needs.

Remember, people are going through crises everyday and most are seeking a transformation … and only Christ in my opinion can give the truly deep and long-lasting change they seek.

Whitesel B. (2012) Cure for the Common Church: God’s Plan to Restore Church Health. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House.  Here is the footnote and citation from that book: “The Holmes and Rahe Readjustment Scale is a comparison of the degree to which different crises affect stress in people’s lives.  Flavil Yeakley’s Ph.D. research at the University of Illinois uncovered that many times such crises drive people to religion (and to visit churches) in search of answers, help and solace (Flavil R. Yeakley, Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the School of Communication [Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, 1976].)  Yeakley’s research has been summarized by Elmer Towns in  A Practical Encyclopedia of Evangelism and Church Growth (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1995), pp. 209-210.  One implication of Yeakley’s research is that churches should focus more on offering ministry that helps people deal with crises in their life.”

Speaking Hashtags: #SalvationCenterTX #PowellChurch #TransformationalLeadershipConference

Figure 8.2 Crises and Need-meeting Ministries


that foster a desire for change

(most serve at the top)


being asked



1.     Death of a spouse ·  Did they go to heaven?

·  What will I do now?

·  Grief-recovery group/course

·  Course/study on refocusing life

2.     Divorce ·  How did my behavior contribute? ·  Divorce recovery group/course
3.     Marital separation ·  Can I prevent divorce? ·  Course/group on marriage
4.     Jail term ·  What will others say?

·  Who will help with my behavior?

·  Inclusion route for ex-offenders

·  Addiction recovery groups

5.     Family member death                                                                                                           

(see death of a spouse above)

6.     Personal injury /illness ·  How will I pay my bills?

·  Can God heal me?

·  Who will help me through this?

·  Benevolence program

·  Parish-nurse program

·  Prayer/healing opportunities

7.     Marriage ·  Are we truly compatible?

·  What kind of social environment will keep my marriage strong?

·  Newly married group/course

·  Marriage enrichment groups

·  Marital counseling ministry

8.     Fired from work ·  How can I find a new job?

·  How will I pay the bills?

·  Who will help me w/ new skills?

·  Resume writing course

·  Job-placement counseling

·  Benevolence program

9.     Marital reconciliation (see divorce & separation above)
10.  Retirement ·  What does God has in store for me?

·  Does my life still matter?

·  What should I do with my time?

·  Second-career programs that help retirees enter the ministry.

·  Mentoring programs comprised of seniors.

11.  Change in family member’s health ·  Why does God allow suffering?

·  How can I help a sufferer?

·  Is there a purpose in suffering?

·  Course/group on problem of pain.

·  Course/group on grief recovery.

12.  Pregnancy ·  Who will help raise my child?

·  Is abortion ethical?

·  Support for new mothers

·  Adoption options

13.  Sex difficulties ·  Am I unattractive to my spouse?

(see divorce & separation above)

·  Course/group on self-image

(see divorce & separation above)

14.  Addition to family (see pregnancy above)
15.  Business readjustment ·  Can I support my family?

·  How will I stretch my budget?

·  Job skill training

·  Course/group on finances

16.  Financial status change (see business readjustment above)
17.  Death of close friend (see death of a spouse above)
18.  Number of marital arguments changes (see divorce & separation above)
19.  Mortgage or loan over $75,000 ·  How will I pay for this?

·  Is this good stewardship?

·  Budget planning class/course

·  Financial seminar/course

20.  Foreclosure of mortgage or loan (see $75k + mortgage or loan above)
21.  Change in work responsibilities ·  How do I get along w/ a new boss?

·  How do I take on these new responsibilities?

·  Mentoring by those w/ good business relationships

·  Course/study on ethical decision making

22.  Son or daughter leaving home ·  What will I do with my time?

·  How will my child do?

·  Ministries for empty-nesters

·  Small groups for empty-nesters

23.  Trouble with In-laws See divorce & separation above
24.  Outstanding personal achievement ·  Will this success change me?

·  What are my obligations to God?

·  What platform does this give me?

·  Group/course on servant leadership

·  Christian ethics in business

25.  Spouse starts work ·  How will we raise our kids?

·  Will we still spend time together?

·  2-wage earner Course/group

·  (see divorce & separation above)