Fixing Small Groups

I ran across this article and just had to share it. One of the nation’s fastest growing churches couldn’t get small groups right until they tried something radical — mission.

I describe how we do this at my church in this post.

I’m firmly convinced that small groups will fail — or devolve into self-indulgence — unless they are charged with doing something more than assimilation and studying a lesson. They have to be involved in God’s mission.

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4 Responses to Fixing Small Groups

  1. mattdabbs says:

    Jay,

    You are right on track with this. I administrate our small group ministry and this year each group is charged with doing at least 2 service projects. Some have already completed two and others have not yet gotten started. But doing this is in response to the same sentiment you are talking about here. It is so easy for a LIFE group/Small group to go into default mode, which is fellowship. We cast the vision for the groups to be so much more than that but it takes so much more drive, leader training, and oversight to actually pull off more than just Bible study and fellowship.

  2. Tom Lutke says:

    Jay,
    "I’m firmly convinced that small groups will fail — or devolve into self-indulgence — unless they are charged with doing something more than assimilation and studying a lesson. They have to be involved in God’s mission."

    I believe that this is certainly true and if it is true of small groups it is also true of churches.

  3. Joe Baggett says:

    Well small groups are thing that are done very well or very poorly. It is scary to actually get to know each other and confess to one another and let people into your homes…gasp! The idea that we would simply move the assembly from the building to someone’s house and something wonderful would happen is a joke and self delusion. We really don’t know how to do church that requires interaction and deep thought and transparent openness. A group must first create a culture of trust. We try small groups like we do a new item on the menu at a fast food restaurant one bad taste and we through it out the window with out any further thought or effort. For the churches of Christ and many traditional evangelical religions small groups are an acquired taste. It takes time effort and perspective.
    The purpose of small groups is to:
    1. Develop deep relationships that can’t occur in large formal assemblies. God does his greatest work through relationships.
    2. Minster to each other in private personal ways that only come through relationships.
    3. Grow spiritually together.
    If we measure small groups by the traditional models of attendance, baptisms, and contribution they will always fail. If we measure them through discipleship, relationships and spiritual growth then we will understand.
    All small group facilitators must be trained not once but quarterly
    Elders must not only buy but lead a small group themselves
    Group leaders should meet quarterly to discuss ideas
    Elders must meet with group leaders on a regular basis to evaluate and be informed.
    It is best that when they start that they all use the same material and questions to study.

  4. Jay Guin says:

    Joe,

    These are great points.

    I especially agree that leaders must periodically meet with the leaders. They need training, encouragement, and answers.

    Don't let groups fail on their own. Find out the problems early enough to intervene and fix or reorganize as need be.

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