SMALL GROUPS & How to Prevent Burn Out Because of Too Many Group Meetings

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/9/15

Can there be too much of a good thing?  Yes.  I have observed a recurring misstep with small groups is to have too many meetings (with too little spiritual formation).

A student once tendered a very good question saying,

“Dr. Whitesel,  Would you say that it’s necessary for all ‘small groups’ that don’t have a formal meeting time to have one?

For example, we have a team of people who direct traffic. This group could probably be considered a small group, but they don’t have a collective meeting time, because they serve at various services, etc. In your opinion should they have regular meeting times where they all come together?

It seems that if that is the case and people are involved in multiple ministries like this, they could very quickly become overwhelmed with the number of meetings and groups to be a part of.  Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid burnout if people are in multiple groups and need to have collective meetings with their groups regularly?”

Here is my response.

Hello;  Good questions.  The cure for burnout is to not have too many meetings. Thus, you would not want to make groups such as the parking team have to have additional meetings.

But the key is that you want to make them do UP-IN-OUT activities regularly.  UP is worship/word/prayer time.  IN is sharing hearts, supporting one another and prayer requests.  OUT is regular service to others.

Thus, you would require the parking team (at some time, perhaps before the cars arrive) to have an IN and UP time, e.g. perhaps sharing prayer requests and then praying for them and singing a worship song together.

They are already serving others well (the OUT element of small groups) through their parking lot hospitality.

But adding these missing “spiritual formation elements” can revolutionize your team!  That is because in the example the student gave, the small group was not growing in all three areas, but primarily only growing in service OUT.