Ending a group is never easy, but it's even more difficult when you don't have an apprentice. Whether your group was full of newer believers who aren't ready yet to step into leadership or you just didn't make identifying an developing an apprentice a priority, it's hard to end when there's no clear path toward multiplying into more than one group.
Don't beat yourself up.
Even if you don't have an apprentice, your primary goal as you end remains the same: making sure everyone in your current group has a clear next step for remaining in community. You want to do everything you can to ensure that the group members who aren't continuing in group with you, continue in group with someone.
And here's what you need to know: when it comes to group participation, no one wants to start from scratch. Sending your group members to a group connection event with no plan other than finding a brand new group increases the likelihood that they'll drop out of group entirely.
You don't want that. We don't want that.
So, even if you have group members that need to find a new leader, it's best if they're joining a new group with other people from your group. It will give them a sense of continuity from one group to another. And that makes it feel like their next group is an intentional next step from their last one.
Here's a hard truth, but it needs to be said: If anyone is going to start a new group from scratch, it should be you, not your group members. Why? Because you're the leader. Group is your personal ministry. You're invested in creating authentic community so that other people can grow spiritually. It may be hard, but it shouldn't matter as much to you if those people are all brand new.
As you move forward, you also have to consider the legacy of the group that's ending. Maximizing the time and energy you invested as a leader means prioritizing your group members' involvement in group. You led them through a particular season of their spiritual growth journey. But you want them to continue to grow under someone else's leadership.
If you need some practical tips for navigating group multiplication even though you don't have an apprentice, reach out to your Groups Director or a church staff person who can give you advice.
For more information on ending well, check out this 60-second video: