Why do many small groups fail to multiply? Could it be that they love each other too much? 

This morning I was talking with our church’s elders about our small groups ministry, and was asked why some of our groups are not open to outsiders and not multiplying. Interestingly, a couple of the elders in the room admitted that their groups were closed and not growing or interested in multiplying. Why? The members love each other too much.

I see this all the time. People today are so starved for real community that when they find anything close, they want to hoard it. Church-growth consultant Tom Bandy said,

My consulting experience has taught me that the #1 reason small groups fail to multiply in a church is that the participants “love each other too much.” They think the goal has been harmony or serenity or good feelings . . . when in fact the goal is really mission productivity, personal deepening, and the like.
I’m not sure I agree 100% with that. I mean, how much is too much love for one another? Peter tells us to “love each other intensely with all your hearts” (1 Peter 1:22, NLT, my emphasis). No, that’s not the problem.

It’s not that small group members love each other too much, it’s that they love each other more than they love God and his mission. 

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). 

Has your small group become an idol to you or others in your group? 

How are you counting the cost as disciples of Jesus? Is it time to get out of the comfort zone and trust God more?

 

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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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