(Originally published on the SmallGroupNetwork.com)
What if Walt Disney was a Small Group Host? This question was bouncing around in my head a few weeks ago as I enjoyed a family vacation to Disneyland! In fact, I started penning this post as I waited in line for over 60 minutes to ride the newly renovated “Hyper Space Mountain!” Tens of millions of people flock annually to the Disney theme parks that were born out of the dream of Walt Disney. So, what if Walt Disney was a small group host? Imagine attending his small group on top of splash mountain or enjoying community together with his group inside Pirates of the Caribbean! While the purpose of a theme park is obviously different than that of a small group, I think there is much we can learn from Walt’s vision and leadership that we can apply to small group ministry!
So, if Walt Disney was a small group host, what might his group look like? Based on what we know about his theme parks, I think his small group might include the following components and aspects…
Walt Disney had a dream and began to imagine what could be. Successful small group ministry starts with leaders having a dream and catching a vision of what dynamic small group ministry looks like!
• Strategic Planning
Since its founding in 1955, Disneyland is always building and expanding. A dream without action will never happen! Small group leaders need to be strategic about planning for their ministries and groups to grow and be all that they can be!
Disneyland theme parks are known for their world class excellence and attention to detail. To create an amazing group atmosphere that makes people feel welcome, leaders and hosts should pay attention to details like lighting, music, mood and cleanliness.
Disneyland is known as the “Happiest place on earth” where people come to have fun & laugh! Our small groups should be joy filled settings where people can laugh during an ice breaker game, eat good food and enjoy fellowship with the family of God! After all, we have the greatest treasure to celebrate and share – Jesus!
• Value for People
Disneyland values people highly by offering incredible customer service and by anticipating and meeting people’s needs. Healthy small groups should roll out the red carpet and value people well by going above and beyond to serve them!
Disneyland draws an international audience of people from all over the world – every race and creed. Our small groups should reflect heaven as we welcome anyone and everyone who desires to explore the Christian faith and grow deeper in Christ and in community!
• Empowered Leaders
With operations in more than 40 countries, Disney employs over 166, 000 employees to make the Disney Dream happen! Healthy small groups identify leadership potential and empower leaders to use their gifts and serve in ministry!
Q What else would you add to this list?