I’ve found two boosters that, when either is utilized separately, develops more authentic community, spiritual growth, accountability, a deeper prayer life, leader development, and multiplication. But when these two are used together, they turbocharge your group for carrying out Christ’s mission and bearing much fruit. 

Share Leadership with a Core Team

Never lead alone. Solo leadership leads to ineffectiveness, lack of fruit, and burnout. Sharing leadership accomplishes two things: 

  1. By including others in the leadership of the group, you are developing and readying them to eventually lead their own group.
  2. By sharing the shepherding and/or discipling of group members with others, you are developing natural relational ties that will lead to healthy group multiplication.

Like Jesus, whose core team consisted of Peter, James, and John, start your group with about three others into whom you will invest, whom you will shepherd and disciple, and with whom you will share these leadership roles. I speak specifically about how to do this and what it accomplishes in my little book, The Pocket Guide to Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership. 

Subgroup

Break into smaller groups of 2-6 people (depending on your purpose for subgrouping) during different parts of your meetings. I’ve found the best times are during the application segment of your study and for prayer, but you can subgroup for just about any part of the meeting. Larger groups can subgroup for most of the meeting time (allowing the group to grow while staying small), coming together as a whole group before and after the official meeting for food and fellowship. When you subgroup, you … 

  1. provide core team members opportunities to lead 
  2. allow the group to grow larger while preparing for multiplication to happen naturally 
  3. build closer relationships among smaller groupings of group members (I’ve found that subgrouping couples groups by gender leads to much more authenticity, accountability, confession, and deeper prayer.) 
  4. help people get used to the idea of multiplying

I’ve seen groups grow larger by subgrouping and then adding more people … until one or more of the subgroups say, “Why don’t we just move down the street to my house?” Voila – multiplication. 


After I as a small groups pastor began to use these two strategies together (along with developing other vital signs of a healthy group), I no longer needed to tell groups they needed to multiply. No more arm twisting. No more bribing groups to reproduce. Groups multiplied naturally … because they had strategically been set up to do so. 

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