There are tons of theories out there on how to structure small groups, the ideal number of members, and what sorts of content the members should engage in. However, something that is often overlooked in these discussions is what it will take to reproduce in a healthy way. If the goal is to reproduce disciples, small groups, and ultimately churches, then what is it going to take to move 8 to 10 people from mere acquaintances to spiritual warriors on a mission together? What will it take for one group of warriors to become two groups?
There are at least four qualities that these small groups must possess if they are going to reproduce in a healthy way.
1. Healthy Small Groups Establish Trust
Trust must be established early on in the life of the group. Some churches throw random people together in a group. Others let groups form on their own. Others have a sort of speed dating type event to get people connected into groups. Some methods are more effective than others and this post isn’t about the pros and cons of each.
If you are involved in church planting and have never heard of Seth Godin, you need to pay attention.
Seth writes mostly about new marketing but I think you’ll find his ideas are refreshingly compatible with Biblically healthy church practices.
This morning I ran across a post Seth wrote a couple of years ago called First, ten. Check it out and let me know in the comments how his marketing “secret” applies to church planters and leaders:
This, in two words, is the secret of the new marketing.
Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…
Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.
If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.
Your idea spreads.
Does your small group barely scratch the surface when it comes to building deep relationships and studying God’s Word together?
The following video is a hilarious example of a shallow small group. Too bad it’s often true. I love it when humor is used to expose our inconsistencies. Check it out:
If you are trying to find some training resources for small group leaders rightnowtraining.org might be a good place to start. They are the ones that produced the above video but they also have a lot of training videos that deal with specific topics related to leading small groups. Some of the most influential voices in the small group space are featured in their archives.
Have you used rightnowtraining.org for your small group leader development? Do you have other small group resources that you recommend? Feel free to link to them in the comments. While you’re at it, describe a breakthrough moment when your small group went deeper in your understanding of God and/or one another.