SG Movement/History

Where Is the Small Group Movement Today?


Stages of Social Movements

Lately I have been studying the beginnings of the small group movement in order to better understand what we can learn today. Last week I spoke to +Ralph Neighbour, and he gave me some incredible insights. Movements typically develop over time in three (or up to about eight, depending on what sociologist you read) levels: LEVEL 1: Emergence. This is …

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SG Movement/History

The Beginnings of Small Groups.com


I was sitting in a small groups seminar in 1993, mesmerized by Lyman Coleman as he stood by his overhead projector, training leaders as nobody else could. This is good stuff, I thought, but what will these folks do when they get back to their churches? What will they do two or three years from now when they run into …

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SG Movement/History

Lyman’s Legacy


LC Cover

I wrote yesterday about Lyman Coleman and his thoughts on small groups as an assimilation strategy for the church. Today, I want to share some more personal thoughts about Lyman. I first met Lyman Coleman in 1992 when I wrote a feature article about him for The Lookout magazine (right). I had called Serendipity House, the ministry he founded, to …

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External-Focus     SG Movement/History

Lyman Coleman: Small Groups Are Much More Than an Assimilation Strategy


Lyman and Mike

I spent a day with Lyman Colemen recently and talked about small groups ministry over the last 60-some years. Lyman founded Serendipity House and for more than 30 years, he spoke at church conferences across America. At that time, he was the voice of the American small group movement. Mike and Lyman Coleman, August 2013 Lyman Coleman leading a Small …

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Ministry Leaders

Top 10 Small Group Ministry Launch Failures


Launch Failure

In my ministry over the years I’ve seen many blunders as churches launch small groups. I’ve made my own share as well. Later, people in the congregation say stuff like, “See, small groups didn’t work here,” but that wasn’t really the case. Here are the ten mistakes I most often see. These can have a devastating effect on any future …

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External-Focus

What Keeps Us from the Mission


Caution

Last week Andy asked me an interesting question: “How far should we go in getting involved with non-Christians?” Andy and I are in a men’s group together and we were sitting in a coffee shop talking about people we meet in coffee shops, among other places, co-workers, and others we come in contact with. My response sprung from my lips: …

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Ministry Leaders

It’s Not About Small Groups!


Not Small Groups

Recently, I was commenting on a discussion on the Small Group Churches site about why small group ministries sometimes fail in churches. The author of the original post, +Andrew Mason, suggests three very good reasons this happens, but I believe there may be one big overarching reason. I’ve seen many churches start small group “programs” like any other program in …

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External-Focus

Healthy Groups Are a Community for the Community


Some churches call their small groups that meet in homes “Community Groups.” I like that name for two important reasons: (1) the name reveals where authentic Christian community takes place and (2) it indicates that these groups are a primary vehicle for the church reaching into its community. Small groups are (or at least should be) places where friends are …

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Small Group Leaders

How Your Small Group Can (Must) Partner with God


“God’s work is accomplished by a combination of human and divine effort, said one of my seminary professors, Dr. Joe Ellis. “We cannot do it without Him; He has ordained not to do it without us. We depend on each other.”¹ I love this quote. I’m amazed by the reality that we actually get to partner with God in his …

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Facilitating Discussion

Hanging Out with Fellow Small Group Ministry Practitioners: August 2013


The topic for our August 1 Small Group Ministry Practitioners Hangout was “Training leaders to be shepherds to their little flock.” How do you train them? What do you teach? Great discussion; we all learned a lot from one another. +Jay Daniell, +Josh Hunt, +Emil Kerekes, +Jonathan Jordan, +Adam Workman, +Brandon Boyd, and I participated this month. Here are a few highlights. We started by discussing …

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