A healthy small group needs 5 ships to carry out its mission:

  1. Fellowship: This one’s the flagship. A group needs authentic Christ-centered community to be healthy. But how do you get there? The other 4 ships flank and reinforce the flagship..
  2. Ownership: Share ownership of the group by making sure every member of the crew has a role in the group. I discussed this one in the January 28 post.
  3. Leadership: Share leadership with a Core Team of about 2-3 others. Don’t lead alone! I discussed this one on January 27.
  4. Partnership: Partnership sails together with Leadership. The Core Team partners with God and one another to lead the group. Partnership means you make decisions together, as a team. You partner together to shepherd the group. You each take on responsibility for discipling other members. You work together to develop other leaders. I discuss how to do this in much more detail in The Pocket Guide to Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership.
  5. Discipleship: This is the battleship of the fleet. Discipleship is the reason you need the other 4 ships. The Core Leadership Team partners with one another to disciple the rest of the group, and the whole group should eventually take ownership of the the group’s mission to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Ships are of no use sitting in the harbor. A “ship shape” (healthy) small group ships out to carry out the Commander’s mission!

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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One Comment

  1. Feeling Simply Quilty

    February 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I like that everything put into ships. Well put. That's exactly what it is.

    Reply

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