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Giving Small Groups Big Potential

An Evaluation of the Small Group Ministry at Ichtus Pinkstergemeente Zaandam

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Giving Small Groups Big Potential

An Evaluation of the Small Group Ministry at Ichtus Pinkstergemeente Zaandam

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

Small groups (SG)'s are an important and seemingly vibrant part of church life. Ichtus
Pinkstergemeente in Zaandam, among other ministries, also has a small group ministry (SGM),.
According to the church leadership it is not a very successful one. This project is an attempt to sort
out where the problems lay in the past and present SGM's at Ichtus, in the hope that it might be an
inspiration for church leadership to rethink their SGM.
What is an SG exactly? Why, if at all, are SG's important for the church? Is an SG a
necessity or a luxury for a church of Ichtus' size? Why have some SG's succeeded and others failed
at Ichtus? Does the SGM need to be re-launched, or should time and energy be focused on other
aspects of church life? This project will attempt to shed some light on these questions.

The Problem
According to the church board (CB) the first SGM was launched in 2006. Apart from one group, the
initial launch was unsuccessful. Several more attempts to start SG's under various leadership
produced even more failures, causing the CB to question the effectiveness of having an SGM. SG's,
according to the CB, are important to the church for in-depth spiritual growth, pastoral care and
relationship building, all of which cannot be done on the Sunday service or by the pastoral
leadership alone with a church of its size. They are a necessity to the church and function well in
many other churches, so what went wrong and why don't many of the SG's at Ichtus stay afloat?
This Project
Based on the questions raised by the CB, this project seeks to answer the following research
question:

Given that the leadership of Ichtus would like to give more attention to her SG's and the
reasons why they have not functioned well in the past, what are/have been the possible
problems with the SG's, and is there an alternative form/model that will meet the needs of
her congregants that could be used?

Further questions that will be dealt with in this project, relating to the above question are: (1) which
SG's are there / have there been at Ichtus and what is the purpose of these groups? (2) What
form/model does Ichtus currently use for her SG's? (3) What are/have been the possible problems.
with Ichtus' SG's? (4) What are the needs of the congregation regarding SG's? And finally (5) what
is an alternative form/model that Ichtus could use for their SGM?

Methodology
This project is an evaluation. It evaluates the former SG's and SGM's and the current status of the
SGM. In order to answer the above questions posed by the CB two forms of research were
conducted. First, literature research was conducted from both published texts and books, as well as
church documents and reports in order to gain background information of SG's in general, as well as
the SG's at Ichtus. Secondly, a mixed research method, a combination of qualitative and quantitative
research, was used for the evaluation.1 For the evaluation, information was gathered first by means
of interview. The pastor, several members of the CB, current and former coordinators of the SGM,,
several current and former SG leaders, and several current and former SG participants were
interviewed. In addition to this, several members of task-groups that have not officially been labeled
as SG's were interviewed to determine if those groups meet SG criteria.
Once information was gathered by means of interviews a church-wide survey was conducted
and the results of that survey were analyzed. The purpose of this survey was two-fold: First, it was
held to determine the quality of former and current SG's for those who attend or have previously
attended an SG. By doing so, a comparison was made between the quality of former groups and
current groups. Secondly, the purpose was to gain a better understanding of the reasons many
church attenders are not currently involved in an SG. By doing so an idea of how many church
attenders were previously, but are no longer involved in an SG, was gained.
Content
The first chapter aims to give the reader a clear understanding of what an SG is, and what it entails,
in the context of the Church. In doing so, SG's are first defined and examples of SG's in society and
the Bible are given. Further in this chapter the purpose of SG's in the context of the Church is
discussed and categories of SG's in the context of the Church are listed. Finally, small groups in
their current state at Ichtus are discussed.
The second chapter lays the foundation for the research work, discussing the qualitative and
quantitative research methods. The reasoning behind the interview questions and participants, and
survey questions, are also presented in chapter two, along with the result each has provided. The
third chapter evaluates the research results in attempts to relate it to some of the problems that were
1 Johnny Saldana, Fundamentals for Qualitative Research: Understanding Qualitative Research. (New York, NY:
Oxford University Press, 2011 Kindle Edition). Location 102. A mixed method was chosen because this project uses
both open interviews (qualitative) and a survey (quantitative).
found as a result of the survey and interviews. This chapter discusses both issues seen in the former
SGM attempts and problems that may not directly have to do with the former SGM's but do need to
be dealt with if the CB further pursues an SGM re-launch.
The last chapter combines all the information presented in the first three chapters and
provides the CB with an alternative model to SG's based on the research gathered. The motivation
this chosen model is discussed and the model is presented along with its implications.

Important for the reader
In essence, this project is bilingual. Most of the literature research, with the exception of church
documents, has been English. The above-mentioned church is a Dutch-speaking church. All of the
interviews, as well as the survey, have therefore been conducted in the Dutch language. Because
this project has been written in English, it is important for the reader to realize that there are various
citations made throughout the project that are in Dutch. All citations in the Dutch language are
italicized, and, from this point on, conclude with a “T” (Translation) followed by a number (ex. T1,
T2, etc.). Approximate English translations will be provided in Appendix A, listed according to their
number. Many of the attachments at the end of this project are also in Dutch (for example the
interview question, the survey and several church documents provided as attachments) and are not
provided in English because they are only relevant for the church or the school, both of which are
Dutch-speaking.

Toon meer
OrganisatieHogeschool Windesheim
OpleidingGodsdienst-Pastoraal Werk
AfdelingDomein Bewegen en Educatie
PartnersIchtus Pinkstergemeente Zaandam
Jaar2012
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalEngels

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