A group represents a certain number of people gathering together with ideas, suggestions, and a need to contribute their skills and abilities with aim of solving a problem or accomplishing a task. Group effectiveness is assessed on the ability of a group to accomplish or achieve its goals and tasks to the satisfaction of the group members. For a group to be effective it must possess the dedication and commitment of the group member together with their facilitators or group leaders.
All this can be arrived at by first identifying the task clearly by the group members as well as reaching a common understanding and acceptance of their purpose together. The two main components of a group function are task and relationship. These two aspects need to be balanced and emphasized for a group to function effectively. Group members play a major role while in the group, their behaviors including conversations, discussions, comments and silence either help to make the group move closer or further away from the reaching the group goals.
In addition, a group leader helps the group focused on their goals and never to be distracted by obstacles. In this paper I am going to discuss the effectiveness of my church group in which I am the children’s director concerning with teaching Sunday school. This group is composed of three departments namely, the children department, the youth department and the adults departments, they are headed by three different individuals but who are directly responsible to the church pastor.
In the children’s department, we have children between age of 6-14 years as members and their facilitator who is entitled director. The director is assisted by the deputy director whose responsibility is to stand in for the director whenever he/she is absent. I happen to belong in this department where I serve as the director where I am bestowed with the duty of capacity building the members (children) Some of the goals that the church has come up with include; spiritual growth, relational, health, social economic and environmental growth among the church members.
To achieve these goals the leadership of the church has come up with departments whose aims are to reduce the number of group members and thus increasing participation. Communication has played a very vital role in making sure that the group (church) achieves its goals. There are well laid down communication systems among members and heads of the various departments in the church. The fact the church is composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds (academic and social) makes it imperative that they listen to each other.
This has lead to the excellent utilization of the many different skills possessed by the church members and thus moving towards accomplishing the tasks. During announcements and sermons speakers use the language that is easily understood by the majority and whenever a need arises there is the use of an interpreter. This style makes it possible for every member to understand whatever that has been said during the service. This is in agreement to (Homan R. M, and Poel C. J. 1999) who acknowledges that interpersonal communication, negotiation and teamwork are very essential in reaching group effectiveness
Equally, while communicating with children one has to combine both verbal and figurative languages. This helps the facilitator to pass information very well to the children. It has been found that children remember for long those things that they were able to see than those they only heard. During class discussions, I have employed the usage of charts and tables as well participation so as to make the message stick very well. These combinations of verbal and non-verbal skills have worked very well. Whenever these children are examined they have been found to remember most of the information.
Similarly, departmental heads have met a number of times to deliberate on the performance of their respective departments where it has been received that trust has been cultivated among members due to open discussion and involvement of members The church pastor employs more of participation and delegative that directive leadership styles. He has assisted cultivate this culture of involving others actively in decision-making. Additionally there have been remarkable positive changes in church attendance, behavioral, spiritual, relational and social improvement among others.
Church leaders including departmental heads see themselves as facilitations and not leaders as such and thus they do not necessarily control their respective group members but rather they make sure that members participate actively towards discussions. Considering the style employed in the church there are no specific tasks meant for anybody whether a leaders or group members. Everybody is bestowed with a responsibility of making sure that the goals of the group (church) are reached.
Admittedly, smaller groups have worked very well since they have reduced tremendously the decision making time as well as increasing the member participation. Leaders of various departments in the church assume the facilitator role in their respective departments and take upon themselves to answer all questions put across by the members however the church pastor has the overall decision concerning the proposals put across the members. The group members (leaders and the members) play a great role in contributing to the work of the task of the group or in interfering with the work /task group does.
However in our church majority of members to engage in the roles that help in moving the church towards the goals We consider our church (group) as being effective because we have been able to reach most of the objectives that we had laid down. There has been a steady increase in the church population whereby new members are joining whereas none of our members has backslid. There are very minimal to nil cases of disharmony among the members, there is cordial relationship among most families, members of the congregation and among the neighborhoods.
Consequently most of the members have grown spiritually and economically and this has been evidence by a great surge in the amount of offering as well as church participation by the church members. Fortunately the ability of individuals and families to live wholesome lives with sufficiency dignity and responsibility has been restored all which are among the major goals set by the church. Conclusion Group effectiveness is not a one-person show but an involvement of all parties in a group. Members of the group must identify the tasks and roles to be played by each to accomplish the task.
And since a group comprises of people from divergent background brought together by a common objective members must relate very well by involving appropriate communication following the laid down and regulations as well as pulling to the same direction which is towards the goals otherwise a group can be termed as effective if the goals are not achieved.
Human R. M. , and Poel CJ (1999) “Developing interactive group skills through Cooperative learning. ” in cooperative learning. JALT applied materials. Tokyo: Japan association for language teaching.