What I’ve Learned About Small Groups in 2 Years

Some church planters asked some great questions about small groups, and after about 2 years into this church plant thing, I felt like I could offer some advice.  We’ve really struggled through some things, and we have more questions than answers, but here is what I know so far.

  1. The leader is the key.  You MUST have a leader that will champion small groups on a church-wide level.  This guy must say “small groups” as the answer to any problem. He has to be a nut about learning, reading, and investigating and has to become THE hands down expert on small groups in your organization.
  2. Do not start them too soon.  If I could re-do it, I would have waited at least 6 months and probably 1 year before starting groups.  I would have taught on them, told people they were coming and make them wait.  By the time we rolled them out, people would have been hungry for them.  There’s nothing wrong with not offering something right now, in order to offer it correctly at some point in the future.
  3. You have to have multiple launching points.  You can’t just start groups 2 times a year.  There has to be constant ways for people to get involved.
  4. The feel and vibe of groups has to match your church.  If your church is open and you talk about inviting, your groups should be the same way.  I know some big churches do closed groups, but that doesn’t fit our church as a whole.  In my experience, closed groups become inward focused, when the goal for our entire church is to be outward focused.
  5. No matter how successful you are, not everybody in your church will get in groups.  You can’t say that groups are your sole plan for caring for people, when 50% of your people might not get in one.  Those people need to be pastored too.  And in some cases, small groups might not be the most effective way to connect or disciple someone.

What would you add to this list?  What’s important to know about small groups in a church plant?

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1 comment so far

  1. Jodi on

    It is important for there to be leadership buy-in. If the pastors and staff are not involved in small groups, it sends an empty message. Like anything, the value of small groups has to be exemplified by those in leadership.


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