When we think about the actions we track in our Bible study groups, those being asked to carry out the actions need to know we notice them. Recognizing others is one way leaders communicate that it is not about me but about us as a group. We beats me every day.
Once we have decided what to track (see post on what to track), we have to determine what we will do with the information. Here are some questions we need to ask that will help us.
Who needs to know?
This may come as a surprise, but not everyone needs to know how we are doing when it comes to what we are tracking in our Bible study groups. Does a lost person need to know that 50% of the people in the group are engaging daily in the Bible? Making this information available to everyone including lost people could open the door for questions that turn into stumbling blocks: Why are half of the people not looking at the Bible daily? If the Bible is really important than wouldn’t they all be reading it every day?
The persons expected to carry out the action are the ones who need to know.
What do they need to know?
The purpose of tracking something is to give a picture of what is happening. We are not trying to shame them, but give them an honest picture. They need to know the good and the bad. They also need to know how the action impacts the big goal and purpose. If people are sharing the gospel with others then that should impact the number of people believing in Jesus and being baptized. Connect the dots between the two actions showing how one impacts the other.
Don’t forget to tell the story when appropriate. If a person is baptized and they were on a person’s prayer list, include that information if possible.
When do they need to know?
They need to know as soon as possible. Knowing sooner than later encourages them to continue or helps them take corrective action sooner. (Tip: If the groups meet prior to a worship time, try to include a report of the actions being tracked before the worship time concludes.) Accuracy also matters at this point. Being quick but inaccurate undermines the setting of a goal in the first place.
How do they need to be told?
Straight forward is better than hidden. Be truthful and report what is known. If 30 people report that they are praying for a lost person and that is one metric you are tracking, then share that number with the entire group being expected to pray for a lost person.
So many mediums exist for reporting. Pick the way that is used by the most number of people being expected to carry out the action. If everyone being asked to pray for a lost person has a cell phone, then share the report as a group text. Some other options are a group announcement, printed handout, or a centralized graphic (digital or static). Keep in mind who needs to know when selecting the how.
What are you tracking this year and how do you plan on communicating what you are discovering to those expected to carry out the action?
Dwayne McCrary leads various teams at Lifeway that create ongoing BIble study resources for adults. He also teaches two weekly ongoing Bible study groups in his church and is an adjunct professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.