I asked leaders who they spent more social time with—people inside the group or those outside it. I would have predicted that spending more time with people outside the group was a significant predictor of whether the group was growing. It would stand to reason that if a teacher spends more time with people outside the group, those people will be more likely to come to the group.
Turns out, I was wrong. Groups with leaders who spend more 80% or more of their social time with people outside the group were 10% less likely to be growing than those with leaders who spent 80% or more of their time with those inside the group.
My take on these findings would be this: If you ignore the people in your class, your class won’t grow, no matter how much time you spend trying to get outsiders to join it. For a leader to spend most of his or her time with those outside the group rather than with those already in the group is analogous to a business spending all of its money on advertising to the exclusion of product development.
The real winners were those who were balancing their time. Those in the middle (spending no more than 60% of their time with outsiders or insiders) were 21% more likely to be growing than those spending 80% or more of their time with people inside the class, and 33% more likely to be growing than those spending 80% or more with outsiders.
Balance in all things. Jesus taught us to walk the narrow way. It’s narrow because it’s easy to fall into one extreme or the other. We need to minister to both those outside and inside of the group.
If you want to grow your group, balance the time you spend with people inside the class with time you spend ministering to people on the outside.