Small Group Leadership TIPS of the Week for May 23-27, 2016

Here are last week’s Small Group Leader TIPS as Tweeted, posted on the Small Group Leadership Facebook page, and posted on LinkedIn.

This Week’s Theme: Small Group Life this #Summer

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Monday, 5/23: Do not give up meeting together this #summer. Plan now. Be flexible. Be intentional.

Tuesday, 5/24: Use calendar to block off vacations, etc. and plan when you’ll meet and what you’ll do thru #summer.

Wednesday, 5/25: This #summer meet outdoors as much as possible. And move outward as a grp as well. #serve #invite

Thursday, 5/26: Use #summer as springboard for fall. #Party. #Eat. #Invite. Develop friendships. Develop new ldrs.

Friday, 5/27: Be #intentional this #summer. #Pray tog. for how God will use u to reap a #harvest this fall. #mission

Go ahead: Copy and paste these to tweet or post them to your followers!


Read All Small Group Leadership TIPS here!


When Our Definition of Discipleship Keeps Us from Making Disciples

The church has redefined discipleship into churchmanship.

Living as a disciple takes intentional effort and, according to Jesus, requires us to make costly decisions. It means more than just sitting in a row in a church building or in a circle at a coffee shop or in someone’s living room.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul repeated the same message three times … that everyone should stay in the situation he was in when God called him (vv. 17, 20, 24). The implication is that every new believer is strategically positioned by God to be involved in his mission.

Often, however, new believers get the message that they are to withdraw from old relationships. Many fellow Christians have told me they can’t witness to non-Christians … because they don’t know any! They are kept so busy in the programs of the church that they never have the chance to make new friends with “those people they have nothing in common with.” This is so unfortunate, because when we become Christians, each of us is in a unique position of influence in the world. No one else has the specific opportunities that we have as ambassadors for Christ.

As small group leaders, we must be sensitive to this. Healthy small groups are mission outposts where together we carry the gospel into the world in which we live.

When we as believers begin to see ourselves as insiders in our part of the world–in the office or factory, in the school, in the neighborhood or apartment building, in the family–then the whole body will start working together as it should.
Here’s the thing. You and I must get outside our comfort zones, and maybe even outside other people’s comfort zones, in order to become insiders where God has placed us.

Mannequin Small Groups
Is Your Small Group Dead or Alive?
Outdulgent: Lessons from the Galloping Gourmet
Loving Each Other Too Much
Healthy small group leaders are friends with non-Christ-followers
More Rethinking Our Small Group Model … Going Deeper

Part of this article were adapted from my first book, The Synergy Church: A Strategy for Integrating Small Groups and Sunday School (Baker Books, 1996), which is out of print. You can find copies, however, on and other online book sellers. I will be including sections from this book in some of my upcoming blog posts. To see more information about this or any of my other 13 books and studies, click HERE.


Two Rocket Boosters That Will Propel Your Small Group to Accomplish Christ’s Mission

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. 


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. 

Healthy Groups Are Intentional

Today I came across a great blog post by DeAntwan Fitts, pastor of Peace Chapel in Los Angeles, titled “Five Stages of a Healthy Small Group.” Great post, and a very necessary part of what I’m discussing here.

DeAntwan begins his post,

Healthy small groups do not just happen. They are the result of the leader being INTENTIONAL about moving the group through the four [sic] important stages of a healthy small group.

He’s dead-on about this. While I’m sharing 7 “signs” of a healthy small group, which I believe leaders can use to diagnose the health of their group(s) and then make prescriptive changes to make their groups more healthy, DeAntwan’s list provides five very useful benchmarks for those signs.

I also really like the fact that DeAntwan encourages leaders to be very intentional in all this. Unhealthy groups generally do not know their win and just meet week to week with little or no direction. Healthy groups are intentional about who they are, where they are going, and how they are going to get there.

Check out DeAntwan’s post here.