Healthy Groups

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a couple of development days over the last month, working one-to-one with a facilitator. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is what makes a healthy group in a congregation.

This is all rather relevant because, as St Mary’s grows, it seems inevitably to me that we will be supporting and encouraging more small groups.

Here are some of the things that I think I’ve worked out might be distinctive of healthy groups in St Mary’s.

  • You know who the convener or leader or contact person is and this person is agreed by all to have such a role
  • It is clear whether the group is an open group inviting new members or a closed group where new people are added by invitation.
  • Contact details are published.
  • The group reports honestly to the wider community, for example through the AGM papers.
  • There is a clear remit for the group.
  • The group ceases to exists when its business is done.
  • The wider aims of the Cathedral are part of the ethos of the group.
  • The existence of the group is in the public domain.
  • The leadership/convenership changes in an expected way according to a clearly understood process. (For example this could be election by the members or it could be nomination by Vestry or Provost but that should be understood before the need arises).
  • Needs of space and time are managed in a non-confrontational way in collaboration with other groups and individuals.

Have I missed anything? I bet I have.

I noticed that my weekly e-mail from the Alban Institute this week was quite relevant. I’ve thought for a while that the size transition boundaries that they use are a bit higher in the states than they seem to be in the UK. The first example that they quote (the Multi-Celled Church) seems to have quite a few of the characteristics of St Mary’s at the moment.