How Healthy Are Your Groups?

Article by Randall Neighbour; online assessment tool designed by Jim Egli

[Note to pastors: This is a great page to email to your group leaders! Paste the html address above into an email sent to  your cell leaders to take this assessment and ask them to email you with the results! It’s quite eye-opening and you’ll have their full attention.]

This assessment tool will help you determine the health of your group and your own strength as a group leader in four basic areas of group health:

Upward – Your relationship to God and your group’s corporate relationship to God.

Inward – The depth of your relationships with your members and their relationship to each other.

Outward – The level of relationship and passion your group possesses to reach pre-Christians and unchurched people for Christ.

Forward – The number of discipled and trained leaders your group is producing so it can multiply its ministry.

Note there are no correct or incorrect answers on this assessment. It is not a test. You cannot fail. You can only find out where you are – your current point of origination - so that you can make a plan to increase the four values of small group life and enjoy God’s destination for you group.

As you read each question, answer quickly with your first answer. The longer you ponder the question, the greater the tendency will be to answer it in a way that yields a high score versus an accurate score.

Before you begin, why not pray this simple prayer?

"Lord, I live for you and you alone. My small group is yours. Help me to take this assessment with an eagerness to see how You want to move through us to minister to each other and a hurting world."

This assessment is found within the Upward, Inward, Outward, Forward Workbook for cell groups. After you complete the assessment, come back here and read how to increase your scores!



If your score is 17 or higher for this section, you’re doing well. Keep praying and then pray some more! One thing is for sure…you can never pray enough. Prayer allows a believer to hear the voice of God and know His will. Praying as a group will invite the Holy Spirit to move and work among you, and bring you together as an incredible ministry team with infinite kingdom-building resources.

If your score is at or between 11 and 16, you are above the danger zone, but it could be higher. If you are willing to press in and pray more each day, pray with your spouse and family, and pray more with your group, you’ll see powerful things happen in your group. Jim Egli, the designer of this assessment, says this: "No prayer, no power; little prayer, little power; lots of prayer, lots of power!" ‘Nuf said!

If your score is at or between 0 and 10 for this section, you are at or below the danger point. It is essential to your spiritual well-being and the health of your small group that you pray more. Without prayer, there is no power. It does not matter what kind of small group you lead… prayer is the base from which all ministry emerges! When you get into bed tonight, think about your day. If you have not spent any focused time in prayer, roll out of bed and find a quiet place to pray for 10 minutes.

If you just can’t seem to find the time to pray, then consider fasting. Missing a meal or two will really help you focus on God. Check with your doctor before you begin fasting, and always have at least one spiritual goal in mind when you fast. Also, do not fast indefinitely, but for a reasonable period of time.

Upward Resource:

To learn more about how to pray for others and develop God’s heart for your group, you’ll want to read Leading From The Heart by Michael Mack.


If your score is 17 or higher for this section, you’re doing well. Keep spending time with your small group members between meetings, loving them in an ever-increasing way. Jesus spent lots of time with his disciples, and this is one of the ways he prepared them for their own powerful ministry to others.

If your score is at or between 11 and 16 for this section, you are above the danger zone, but it could be higher. Grab your day planner or calendar and schedule time with different group members to eat dinner, catch a movie or do a project together (ie, trimming trees, painting a room, scrap booking, repairing a car, etc.) The more time you spend with your small group members individually, the greater their desire will be to share their lives with you and your small group during your meetings.

If your score is at or between 0 and 10 for this section, you are at or below the danger point. Take a moment and consider something important about God’s nature. The Trinity (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit) have been together for an eternity. Three in one, yet distinctly different persons. God enjoys the fellowship of His Son and the Holy Spirit and created you in His image. With this in mind, realize that God wants His people to live together in community and fellowship, sharpening each other by lots of contact and loving each other by laying down our lives to help and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Therefore, it’s vital to the success of your small group and especially your own spiritual walk that you make your small group more than just a two hour meeting. Grab your day planner or calendar and begin to pencil in time investments into each of your small group members. It doesn’t have to be deeply spiritual time together, just connection time to develop a deep relationship. After all, no one wants more meetings in their life, but everyone wants better friendships! So find the time to connect and be an example to your group members. Relationship is the very heart of ministry!

Inward Resources:

To learn more about community and fellowship as it pertains to the life of your small group, you’ll want to read 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders by Dave Earley and How to Lead a Great Cell Group Meeting by Joel Comiskey.


If your score is 17 or higher for this section, you’re doing great! There’s nothing more fun that seeing the lost won to Christ and find the peace and freedom they have been searching for all their lives. Keep up the great work, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately see fruit. God uses all your efforts to draw people to Himself.

If your score is at or between 11 and 16 for this section, you are above the danger zone, but it could be higher. It’s important to realize that God has given us a two-fold purpose in life as described in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. We should love one another deeply and make disciples as a team. At your next meeting, ask your group to plan at least one additional event each quarter to connect to the lost friends known to the group members. Hold a barbecue, go to a ball game or invite everyone to your house just to watch movies. Building relationships with the lost is how they are won to Christ. And don’t forget to pray for the lost every time you meet together, regardless of the stated focus of your group. Evangelism is what we were designed to do!

If your score is at or between 0 and 10 for this section, you are at or below the danger point. When believers gather together in God’s name, it’s important to know that God wants more from us than just fellowship only…we’ll have that together when we get to heaven. What he hungers for us to do is to love the lost enough to spend time with them. At your next meeting, ask your group members to share something about one or two friends or family members in your town that don’t know Jesus. As each person shares, pray for those people and write their names down.

Challenge each person in your group to spend two hours a week with an unbeliever, just being a good friend. Model this for them, and invite them along when you hang out or visit your lost friends at work, at home or somewhere in between.

If you’ve ever led someone to receive Christ as Lord, then you know how it feels…that’s why God made us in His image! To share our lives and speak the truth in love to anyone who will listen. Invest your life into the only inheritance you can take with you when you die…the lost in this world.

As you consider ways to share your faith, remember that God never intended you to work alone when Jesus said "I will make you fishers of men." He was talking about net fishing, not fishing with a pole and a line. It takes two or three to work a net properly and secure your catch.

Outward Resources:

To learn more about evangelism and reaching out to unchurched people, you’ll want to use these small group-based tools by Randall Neighbour: The Blessing List and Are You Fishing With A Net? by Randall Neighbour.


If your score is 17 or higher for this section, you’re doing great! The best thing you can do now is to give your group over to your intern(s) or apprentice(s) and let them learn how to minister to people and facilitate group meetings in a safe environment. This will help you from becoming burned out, and allow the members of your group to build respect for the new leaders. If you’ll do this now, when it comes time to multiply your group, the members will be happy to support their new leader.

If your score is at or between 11 and 16 for this section, you are above the danger zone, but it could be higher. Remember some basic facts of life. You can never be too good looking, have too much memory in your computer or have too many interns or apprentices in your group! Now is the time to press in and develop your replacement. Spend time with your intern, apprentice or assistant each week. Pray for each person in the group and what God wants to do in your next meeting. Then, allow your new leader to learn by doing… give him or her an increasing amount of responsibility over the next few months and begin looking for another leader to mentor through the process!

If your score is at or between 0 and 10 for this section, you are at or below the danger point. "Our group has grown! We’re almost 20 strong each week and it’s time to multiply." Well, your group may be large, but you can’t multiply unless you have trained leaders. So, begin the process today by giving away responsibility to others in your group. People will see their leadership potential when they have the opportunity to serve in the capacity without the pressure of the title.

If your group is dwindling and fewer people show up this month than last, it’s not too late to make changes and see your group turn around. Begin to pray for each member every day. Spend time with them between meetings. Invite them to join you when you serve others or visit their home to pray for them. Show your members what a leader really does!

Forward Resources:

To learn more about developing leaders and multiplying your small group, check out this super resource: The Pocket Guide to Burnout-free Small Group Leadership by Mike Mack.

Finally, we highly recommend you take your group through Community Life our curriculum series, which increases all four levels and helps each member to learn about and start using their spiritual gifts.