How do you get small group members to invite people to their groups?

I spoke at +Greenwood Christian Church this past Saturday, particularly on the topic of moving small groups from good (comfortable, focused mostly internally) to great (costly, missional). We spent time talking about the importance of members inviting people into their groups as part of carrying out Christ’s mission of going and making disciples.

I’m following up with leaders from that workshop (and addressing any other small group leaders who want to make a difference) with 5 specific principles you can use to help your group members, even the shyest ones, invite people to your group. I’ll follow up this post with other posts to provide more ideas and to discuss the ramifications of this.

  1. The Leader Must Go First! Don’t go to your group with the ideas below until you have done these things yourself. As a leader, you must first be an example, a model, for those entrusted to you (1 Pet. 5:3).
  2. Don’t Do Anything Else Until You’ve Spent Time with God. Every strategy you use, every word you say, everything you do must flow out of your relationship with God. Be like Jesus who often withdrew to out of the way places to spend time with his heavenly Father (Lk. 5:16) and did nothing on his own but only what the Father showed him to do (John 5:19; 7:16; 8:28). Remember that God is already working in people’s lives and hearts, so partner with him (John 6:44). When you spend time with God, he will pour into you everything you need and overflow out of you into the lives of others (John 15:1-17).
  3. Lead with the Same Love, Tenderness, and Compassion as Jesus (Phil. 2:1-2). How do you see other people as you go through your day? How do you respond to people who attend church services or other events? When Jesus saw crowds of people he responded with compassion. He saw them as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36). “Be like-minded, having the same love” (Phil. 2:2).


  4. Change the Way You Think About Weekend Services and Other Church Events. You attend worship services to praise God, receive vision, and be equipped for your mission as a Christ follower. Those are all great things. But add one more vital element. Instead of sitting with your usual friends in your usual seats, make yourself available for God to use you to reach out to people who are like sheep without a shepherd. Prayerfully look for new people or people sitting by themselves and ask if you can sit next to them. Look for opportunities to talk and get to know one another and possibly invite them to your group. Trust that God will lead you to the right people and that he is already working in their lives. You may be amazed at how he works in and through you as his ambassador.
  5. Change the Way You Think About “Ordinary” Days. When you are regularly abiding in Christ, he will overflow out of you into the people who are around you during your “ordinary” days. He’ll make your days extraordinary in ways you can’t even imagine, if you let him. Ask God whom he wants to love and care for through you. Ask him to give you opportunities to invite people you interact with (people he has put on your path) to your small group. Keep your eyes open for how God is working and your heart compassionate for those harassed and helpless people who surround you each day. God will do abundantly more than you can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within you (Eph. 3:20)!


“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” -1 John 1:3-4, NLT 



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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 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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