How to Start Lots of New Groups That Continue and Multiply

The 12-step strategy can be summarized in 4 words:

Focus short-term, plan long-term.

Many people are reluctant to join a long-term group, especially with people they don’t already know. Perhaps this is why so many small group events and campaigns fail. But people will try a short-term group (four to six weeks, maximum) that meets a specific felt need. Once they have made some friends in the group and experience life change (and this does not always take long to occur), they’ll stick with it. Here’s the 12-point strategy:

Plan a short-term (four- to six-week) group experience in which people naturally want to participate. These are often all-church campaigns tied to a sermon series. Find the best time(s) of year (fall or beginning of the new year, for instance) for these campaigns. Some churches do these short-term groups one night of the week in a big room with round tables.

Recruit the leaders for these short-term groups from your existing groups, especially those who are already sharing leadership. Often, the group leader from an existing group steps up to lead a short-term group with the expectation of returning to the original group at the end. The original group is led by one of the core team members. (Short-term group leaders can also be recruited from among staff members, elders, ex-group leaders and other leaders in the church.) The important thing is that you’re asking these leaders for only a 6-10 week upfront commitment (the duration of the short-term group plus a week or two on either end).

Begin every new group with a core team that shares leadership. The mistake many leaders make is launching new groups with one leader, which then limits the reproducibility of the group. The core team members will be selected early on from the new group members. They will share some of the facilitation leadership but, more importantly, the shepherding (investing into) of other members.

Plan for the long-term from the start. What will these short-term groups do after the initial group commitment ends? What will they study next? I provided several options for each type of group. I wanted these studies to lead to spiritual growth and be relatively easy to lead. I’ve found video-based curriculum usually work best.

Be certain in those initial weeks that every person is shepherded. Every person should be invested into. Each core team member should take responsibility for two or three others whom they call, send emails, meet with for coffee, pray with, and so forth.

Get everyone involved. Share ownership with everyone. Ask group members to bring food, read aloud, look up answers, ask the icebreaker question, etc.

A couple of weeks into the initial group experience, have the leaders begin to ask new group members what they think about the group. Would they be interested in continuing? We’ve found that most people say yes. (Those who don’t say yes usually have other plans, but they’d be willing to join another group later on.) If I developed the study these groups use, I write these questions into the lessons.

Communicate often with leaders and those who share leadership about upcoming plans. Would they be willing to continue leading this group for a while? Is there someone in the rest of the group who can become part of the core team? Will the leaders stay in the group for, say, six more weeks? What’s the process for continuing the group long-term, and who will lead it?

Make specific plans to continue meeting. At this point, don’t be afraid to ask for a commitment. Decide on all the particulars: where and when you’ll meet, who will lead, what roles others will take, etc.

Train. As the initial groups come to an end, plan a short group break, during which time (1) the group can either meet for a party or do a serving project together or both and (2) you provide a basic, upfront training event for emerging leaders.

Coach. Ask the original short-term group leader to slowly hand over leadership of the group (if necessary) and then continue to coach the new leader(s) to help the group to be healthy and grow.

Celebrate! A new leader has been developed and a group multiplication has occurred, so recognize it and celebrate. You want to see this same process happen again and again, so hold this up as a model.


3 More Must-Read Posts on Launching New Groups During Church Campaigns or Connection Events

Three Priorities for Briefing New Group Leaders, by Allen White

Choosing the Right Day to Launch Groups This Fall, by Allen White

12 Crowd-Sourced Ideas to Get More People Involved in Your Groups

Jim Egli on Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group

For years I’ve been following Jim Egli. His books, blogs, and brotherly love have influenced my own views toward groups, discipleship, and ministry in general.

I recently read a post Jim wrote that I believe could have a profound effect on churches, if it gets into the right hands. With Jim’s permission, I’m sharing here his “4 Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group.” I will share only his four main points and then add my own commentary to them. To read his original post—which you should!—click on the link.

  1. Small groups are at the heart of church health. Jim shares the research behind this statement, but I can tell you from experience and common sense that this is true. A healthy church lives in authentic, Christ-centered, missional community, and a church that utilizes healthy groups—the focus being on the word healthy—will increase their health, effectiveness, growth, and multiplication.
  2. Pastors’ involvement in small groups greatly multiplies the leadership base of the church. This is the most important of the four reasons, in my opinion. A strategic pastor will lead a purposeful small group of potential leaders who will become new group leaders, new elders, and new leaders in a variety of other vital leadership functions in the church. The strategic pastor will model the discovery, development, and deployment of new leaders so that those he disciples will then go and do the same.
  3. Jesus led a small group. Let’s face it, Jesus was a strategic leader who led a discipleship group with the intention of developing these men into leaders who would be deployed to launch his church. Jesus was more interested in starting a movement than preaching a weekly sermon. So he gathered some ordinary, unschooled men and patiently shaped them into bold leaders who would change the world. What would happen if every pastor walked in the ways of Jesus as a group leader?
  4. For your spiritual health you need to be in a small group. Where are you growing as a disciple of Jesus in authentic, Christ-centered, missional community? Are you better than everyone else in your church? Do you need to be a part of genuine community less than the rest of your congregation? Where are you living out the “one another” passages of the New Testament? You really do need this kind of community for your own spiritual health. Humbly admit your need and then boldly lead. You won’t regret it.


Follow +Jim Egli  with me at You’ll find lots of great resources including icebreakers, a free group assessment, and other small group and multi-site resources.

Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimegli.

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Top 10 Small Group Ministry Launch Failures
What Every Small Group Leader Needs from their Small Group Pastor
10 Stupid Things That Are Keeping Your Small Group from Growing

Our Move to House Church—What We’ve Learned So Far

GUEST POST by Randall Neighbour,

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In my last blog entry (click here to read) I shared that my wife and I felt led by God to start a house church with hopes it would grow into a network of house churches who have mid-week cell groups.

What have we learned in the last four years about starting a house church? Enough to fill a book. However, no one seems to read books any longer so here I am on a friend’s blog bearing my soul in 550 words or less…

  • House Church is purposely held on Sunday mornings to compete with other church attendance. If you’re a part of us it’s because God has called you to be a part of us and not another church.
  • Our House Church has a motto: No buildings or salaries. Our tithes and offerings are given to those in need in our community and abroad.
  • I do not prepare a sermon because I work a regular job. I do get up early Sunday morning and study the next 2-3 chapters of a book of the Bible we’re working through. I use online resources from trusted theological sources. Someone reads a few verses, I make comments that make me look brilliant or admittedly ignorant, invite others to do the same, and we move on. You’d be surprised how refreshing this is and just how similar it is to early church in the book of Acts!
  • No agenda is set in stone in House Church. Sure, we typically gather for about 90 minutes of prayer, Bible study, and personal application. Three weeks ago I asked everyone if we should ax the Bible study and go eat tacos for breakfast and talk about our challenging week. I wasn’t in the mood for Bible study anyway and I told them as much (which they appreciated).
  • At our House Church, everyone knows that they’ll one day “grow up and move out of this house and start a house church of their own” because I brainwash them with this statement regularly.
  • At House Church we meet with members individually and challenge them to grab a spoon and become a spiritual child (1 Jn. 2:12-14) and not remain an infant who refuses feed themselves. Then we challenge them to get set free from satanic strongholds and all the while, share Christ in a way that helps them become a spiritual father or mother.
  • Etna and I pray for our House Church members daily and in great detail. This kind of air support from a pastor is hard to find in a larger church.
  • We held our first half night of prayer (on a Saturday night) and everyone was surprised how fast the evening went by and asked for more to be scheduled.
  • We often eat lunch together at the house or at a nearby inexpensive restaurant after House Church.
  • The House Church’s success or failure is God’s responsibility. We’re being obedient to Him and doing our best.
  • The House Church model doesn’t tolerate consumerism and there’s no place to safely hide and not serve and humbly ask to be served.
  • One of our members has spontaneously started a cell group in his home mid-week and is inviting people who probably won’t come to our House Church. We are delighted by this and hope he starts a House Church sooner than later. Yes, we’ll train him on leadership skills but we love the fact that he dove into the deep end of the pool without swimming lessons… he’s no consumer Christian!
  • No one is bored in House Church. Frankly, going to a building on Sunday and sitting with hundreds of people to listen to a sermon is boring to me and everyone in our House Church. If we’re not interacting with others through the Word, we’re not learning enough of it for it to be transformational.

Do you have more questions for me? Ask them below and I’ll answer in detail. Go!

Why Many American Small Groups (and Churches) Fail to Reproduce (Commitment and Small Groups Series #11)

Why don’t very many small groups in America reproduce themselves?

I’ll mention three main reasons, and discuss the third in a bit more detail today.

One reason I’ve mentioned often is that many groups simply are not healthy. Healthy things grow, produce fruit, and multiply. Unhealthy things don’t. In my ministry, I’ve prodded, rewarded, celebrated, shamed, urged, and manipulated, but none of these tactics produced multiplying groups to any measurable degree. But when our church focused on health, we saw groups naturally begin to multiply over and over again.

Another reason is that many churches and groups simply don’t have the right process, and that process is discipleship. In his blog post this past Tuesday, Eric Geiger, co-author of Simple Church (and his newest book, Transformational Groups), made a great point: “When you design a process for discipleship, view discipleship as the whole process.” When you do, the natural result of discipling people is new leaders who hear God’s call to step up and lead. Simply put, if you want new leaders and new groups, focus on the discipleship process.

The third reason many small groups do not reproduce has to do with commitment. Many of us are simply not really committed to the mission God has given us as the Body of Christ. The only way we can go and make disciples of all nations is to reproduce ourselves–to multiply … which takes sacrifice on our parts.

This past weekend at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, Tyler McKenzie spoke directly to this:

Group multiplication is one of the most difficult things you’ll do as a group, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. When I talk to people about multiplying their group, almost always their number one excuse goes something like, “That sounds good and all, but it just wouldn’t work for us.” In other words, “It would be uncomfortable for our group. It would require our group to sacrifice and step out of our comfort zone.” But seriously though? Seriously? You are a part of a faith system founded on a cross. How could you not expect self-sacrifice to be a part of this? Are you surprised? Did Jesus not make it pretty clear from the start?

I’ve heard the same responses (excuses) from group leaders and members. This is also a frustration for some group leaders who “get it” but can’t convince the members of their groups of their call to reproduce themselves. This is an unfortunate outgrowth of the “holy huddle” syndrome that has infected so many groups and keeps them from Christ’s mission.

Consumers make their groups all about themselves. Consumer-centered groups are by nature not Christ-centered groups. That’s why the first Vital Sign of a Healthy Group is that it is Christ-centered. This commitment is foundational for all the rest. And do you want to know what’s really sad? A group that is focused on what they want rather than on Christ’s purposes for them is a group of idol worshipers; the idol being themselves and their own consumer-driven comfort and cares.

That may sound harsh. But I sense a call to speak the truth in love. I’m committed to this.

If you want to change the culture in your group(s) and in your church, I encourage you to go back to the first two reasons I gave, above. Focus on health and the discipleship process. This, too, is a commitment and will take some surrender and sacrifice. But remember, you are part of a faith system founded on a cross!

Top 10 Small Group Ministry Launch Failures

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 groups ministry.

  1. Lack of Prayer. When prayer isn’t the central focus of your ministry launch and development you are revealing who is and isn’t in control of this endeavor. This is God’s enterprise and you, as an act of stewardship, get to partner with him in pulling it off. Prayer is vital at every step. I’ve shared lots of stories in my books and articles about how God has worked in incredible ways to help me and others launch fruitful ministries by our dependence on him. Read my personal story about this. Or see “How Your Small Group Can (Must) Partner with God.”
  2. Lack of Vision. What is God’s vision for this ministry? How does a groups ministry fit into the church’s vision, mission, and plans? Why small groups? These and many other questions must be discussed and answered before taking any steps toward starting groups. Be sure your vision for small groups is clear, reasonable, and easy to explain to others. You can’t cast a vision, of course, if you don’t really have one.
  3. Lack of Strategic Planning. I’ve seen many leaders start a new ministry with very little strategic thinking. Do some homework. Talk to some people who are in the know. Read some articles and books. Meet with a consultant in this area. Hire an expert to coach you and your team. Build a team with whom you’ll share leadership of this ministry (this very easily could have been on the top ten list itself!). Write out a strategic plan of action with your team. Read “Are You Making Plans and Setting Goals? Should You?”
  4. Overly Programmed Thinking. Small groups are an inherently relational ministry, but I find that many leaders try to lead it as if it were any other church program. It’s not. See more in my post, “It’s Not About Small Groups.”
  5. Under-Programmed Thinking. Yes, you do need to organize your ministry for growth. You’ll need to share leadership with a team. You’ll need an organizational chart and structure of some kind to lead, develop, and care for your leaders and groups. These are some of the tactics that come out of your strategies, which come from your vision and mission.
  6. Hitching Your Wagon to a Widely Known Church Ministry. It’s important to learn from other churches, but one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen churches make (and I see this often) is trying to copy someone else’s groups program. First, that’s the easy way out; you have to plan for your environment. Second, what works well in one place doesn’t work somewhere else. You’re not Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Nelson Searcy, or Jim Putman, and your church is probably nothing like theirs. Be you. Be creative. Ask God what he wants you to do.
  7. Starting Too Fast. I often hear church leaders say, “We’re going to launch x groups by y date.” You can train a bunch of leaders how to lead a group, but that does not guarantee success. You cannot develop the DNA of a healthy small groups ministry this way, however. My advice is to start one–count them, one–group that you want all the rest of your future groups to replicate. These are called “Turbo” groups. I start this one group with potential leaders (who God has led me to; Matthew 9:38), and they learn how to lead a group by doing community together. I’ve talked about Turbo Groups in several of my books, but especially The Pocket Guide to Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership
  8. Starting Too Slow. Some leaders spend way too much time talking about starting groups, reading about it, thinking about it, and plain old procrastinating. Employ active faith; that is, pray and then, as you watch for how God is moving, start developing the ministry plans under his leadership. It’s hard for God to move through you if you’re just sitting there.
  9. Replacing an Existing Program with Small Groups. I’ve seen tons of churches try to replace people’s favorite programs with small groups with the consequence of those people blaming small groups as the culprit. It becomes a “my program” vs. small groups issue which usually does not end well. It could be the Sunday-evening service or Wednesday-evening programming or adult Sunday school or whatever. Instead of replacing these things with groups, I’d develop a strategy for transitioning these programs into small groups. But every circumstance is different, of course. I’m currently consulting with one church in which their Sunday-evening service is now on its last legs and there seems to be acceptance by those involved that it’s time to change. These people may be ready for something new.
  10. No Buy-In from some of the vital players in the church: the senior pastor (unless that’s you!), the leadership board, the staff, volunteer leaders, and thought leaders in the church. In each of these groupings, get the innovators and early adapters on board first, and then talk with the early majority in the church. How do you know who to talk to first? Go back to #1 on this list. Once you have God’s buy-in, everything else will flow naturally.
I’m passionate about helping churches avoid these blunders so they can launch healthy, growing, reproducing ministries. If I can help your church in any way, please let me know. You’ll find more information on my website HERE.

Seven Steps to Share the Leadership of Your Group

I’ve written in other posts about the Vital Sign of Sharing Leadership with a Core Team of two or three others. Today let’s talk about HOW you can move from leading solo to team-leading the group. Here are seven steps you can take.

1. Share the load. Ask God to show you whom you should ask to be part of the core team and begin to share leadership with them. Here are a few things that will help you discover the right people for the team:

  • Don’t recruit, at least not in the usual way we usually think of “recruiting.” Instead, ask the Lord of the Harvest to send these “workers.” Trust him to help you know whom to ask.
  • Know what you’re looking for. Look for potential, not perfection. Look for servants, not saints. Look for humble hearts, not superior skills or incredible intelligence.
  • Look around you. Perhaps God has already put your core team members right around you. They may be the people in the group with whom you already have close relationships or those whose gifts complement yours.
  • Don’t do it all. People hesitate to be on a team when the leader does too much. As the group’s leader you must grow in your ability to allow others to use their gifts.
  • Don’t over-program this! You don’t need to have a big meeting to announce new leadership positions in the group, with official titles and name badges. (You don’t need no stinkin’ badges!) Just ask a few people in the group to share some of the leadership roles with you.
  • Share ownership with everyone in the group. Share leadership with a selected few. See “Share Ownership, Share Leadership” for more on the difference between the two.

2. Don’t go back! I’ve known leaders who have a core team but then continue leading alone. Don’t do it. In fact, ask your core team to hold you accountable. The next step will help with this.

3. Create a clear plan of action. Who on the core team will do what and when? How will you communicate with one another? How often do you want to meet separately from the group to play, pray, and plan?

4. Share shepherding/discipleship. Look at your group’s roster when you meet with your core team. With whom do your core team members have natural relationships? Utilize those friendships as a point of origination to shepherd them through the core team members. In one group at our church, a core couple with young children strategically shepherded the other couples with kids. It was a natural alignment. Later, as the group grew, the couples with kids launched a new group. It could not have happened more organically and easily!

5. Actively develop core team members. Leadership development is easier with the core team approach, but it requires intentionality on your part. Strategically give your core team members opportunities to lead meetings. Then visit with the core team to encourage and provide feedback. If you do this with other core team members, everyone will benefit and become an encourager. I like doing brief recap sessions right after a meeting, when possible.

6. Attend training sessions together. When your church has leadership training, recognition, or other small group events, the whole core team should attend. If your church only invites the main leaders to these trainings, extend an invitation to your core team. (Of course, make sure you’ve received approval from your church ministry leader first.)

7. Extend the Kingdom. Core teams make for healthier small groups, and healthy small groups grow. As you move to a core team approach, your group will surely grow and multiply. It is just the natural result of doing small group leadership as a team. In my church, we do not put any time limits or size limits on groups. We simply help them become healthy and the groups branch off or multiply naturally.


How to Help Your Group Members Keep Growing and Growing

How do you help maturing disciples to keep growing? Both the Bible and developmental psychology show that a natural next step for many of them is to step out and lead others.

1. The Bible, especially in Hebrews 5:11—6:1, assumes that a maturing follower of Jesus will eventually step out to lead others.

How do you help group members to embrace this?

When people say, “We love our group; we don’t ever want to leave,” challenge them with Jesus’ mission to “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Study that and other passages and discuss its application for group members.(For more help on how to do this, see my newly revised book, Leaving Home: A Small Group Parable for Making Disciples into Disciple Makers. It’s available now as a PDF download.)

If group members say they don’t know enough or have the ability to lead, look together at the lives of the early church leaders, Peter and John, who were known as “unschooled, ordinary men.”

Focus more on developing a few emerging leaders, sharing leadership roles with them, and increasingly less on discipling the entire group yourself. Team-lead the group with a core team of 2-3 others.

2. The best way for individuals to continue growing is to step out of their comfort zones.

Abraham Maslow said,

“You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

“You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.” -Abraham Maslow Click To Tweet

How can you help the group step forward?

A new Christian usually grows rapidly. After awhile, however, that growth slows and eventually becomes incremental at best. Individuals can remain in this plateaued state for years – attending church and small group faithfully every week and still not growing. To help them begin growing spiritually again, think of creative ways to encourage them with challenges that spur on their growth and force them to rely more on God’s power.

Those who teach others claim they learn far more than those they are teaching. The best thing you can do for plateaued group members may be to allow them to team-lead and teach others.

Communicate in terms of spiritual steps. What is the next logical step for each member of the group? Discuss this openly and challenge them personally. Shepherd them towards where they need to go to grow. For some, the next step is team-leading.

Small groups have accurately been descried as “leader breeders.” As you disciple people, sharing ownership and leadership, new leaders will emerge. 

Question: What specific change can you make this week in your group leadership in order to help people get out of their comfort zones so they can grow? Please share by clicking the Comment button below.

Small groups are “leader breeders.” @JoelComiskey Click To Tweet

The best thing you can do for plateaued group members is to allow them to lead. Click To Tweet

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. 

10 Simple Steps to Improve the Health of Your Group(s)

Healthy groups grow and multiply. Unhealthy groups are a strain on you as a leader and your whole ministry. I wrote Small Group Vital Signsout of my own experience as a small group minister assessing the health of our groups and then implementing a process for developing the health of our groups. This process helped our groups grow spiritually, numerically, and in their likelihood to be missional and to multiply. Today I am working to help other churches assess and then improve the health of their groups as well.

Whether you lead a small group or the groups ministry in your church, it is vital to know the condition of your flock (Proverbs 27:23). If you want your group or groups to be healthy and effective in carrying out Christ’s commission, you must start by “confronting the brutal facts,” as Jim Collins puts it. I developed a Small Group Health Assessment that is available FREE on the TOUCH Outreach Ministry website. A hard copy version is also available in Appendix E of Small Group Vital Signs.

Here is a 10-step process you can implement that will help your groups become healthier and grow:

1.      If you have not done so already, read Small Group Vital Signsyourself and make notes about important aspects you want to utilize. Click on the book link to purchase your own copy.

2.      Have every member of your Small Group Leadership Team (and coaches) read the book and think through implications for your ministry.

3.      Personally take the FREE Small Group Health Assessment for the group you lead and have your team do the same for theirs.

4.      Meet with your leadership team to discuss plans for improving the health of your groups.

5.      Have your group leaders take the free online assessment. Send them this link via email or put it on your website: This survey is absolutely free, no strings attached. I’ve found that a couple reminder emails and/or calls/texts really help to increase the percentage of participation. Provide incentives for taking the assessment (like free coffee!), and utilize your coaches to make follow-up calls.

6.      Ask your leaders to email you (and/or their coaches if in place) their scores/responses. This will help you determine how your groups are doing as a whole and will help you coach leaders individually. Put all this in a spreadsheet to gather total scores in each area and as a whole. (This is a great job for your assistant or an administrative volunteer in your ministry!)

7.      Buy a copy of Small Group Vital Signs for each leader and their core teams/apprentices. As you’ll see, very good quantity discounts are available from the TOUCH website.

8.      I can consult with you and your leadership team to help you implement a Healthy Groups Process, and I can also be available for coaching calls with you and your team. To go along with this consultation and/or coaching, I will make downloadable documents available to you for implementing the Healthy Group Process. Email me to discuss this in more detail.

9.      Bring me to your church to lead a Healthy Groups Training Seminar (weekend retreat or Saturday seminar) to equip your leaders to lead healthy groups. Email me to discuss training.

10.   I can also train your coaches, either in person or via Skype, how to coach leaders toward health and growth. This is a vital part of the plan!

Please let me know how I can help! I’m excited about what this simple process can do for groups, group ministries, and churches!

Are We Loving Each Other Too Much?

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?