How to Pick your Small Group Organizational Structure

There are so many different ways of organizing a small group system. There are the basic structures such as 5 x 5, Principle of 12, Free Market, In-Out, etc… plus many different variations and combinations of structures.

The main thing in all of these scenarios is to have some sort of hierarchical structure, like a company org-chart. Obviously, one person won’t be able to oversee every group all by themselves, especially when you grow to hundreds of groups! The key is to organize those groups under different leaders who can each help manage a section, or branch of the whole tree. As the branches grow, other leaders will help manage those groups and so on.

So how do you decide what the first branches are?

This is an important question, because it shapes your whole structure, and determines your reporting capabilities for your small group system. Basically, you need to ask two questions:

  • How do we naturally categorize our groups in our current communication?
    —You may already have a natural top-level division or categorization of your groups that you use when discussing your groups. For example, “how many people do we have in our Married groups compared to our Singles groups?” Or, “We need to get the word out to our Men’s groups about the guest speaker this week.” From the first example you might decide that your top level categories should be based on place-in-life: Married, Singles, etc… From the second example, it may be: Men, Women, Youth, Children, etc… Another example may be geographical such as North, South, East, West, or different city names.
  • How do we want to report and measure our groups?
    —Think about what the most important or common way you would want to report on your groups. Do you mostly want statics for just the Men groups, Women groups, etc… Or maybe it’s based on an interest category like: Book Study, Recreation, Discipleship, Outreach, etc…

The great thing about Excellerate, is that it supports all of these different ways of categorizing, and makes it easy to organize your groups. In fact with Excellerate’s small group tree, you can just drag and drop your groups under different leaders, making it so simple to setup your structure. Here’s an example of the small group tree.