Book Review: Activate – New Approach to Small Groups

Today, I’m sharing with you a book review written by Rus Jeffrey. Dr. Jeffrey has 40 years of mainstream broadcast experience and 20 plus years of pastoral ministry experience. In 2002 he and his wife Sandra founded Fresh-Wind Ministries. Here’s what he had to say about my newest book, “Activate:”

Activate is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the topic of small groups!

Someone recently picked up my copy of Activate and said, “You must really like this book. I can tell, it’s full of notes not only on the inside cover and throughout the book, but on the title page as well”! The subtitle of the book is An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups. While it is a new approach on some levels, on other levels it’s a combination of past methods and thoughts on the topic. While the entire book is well written and worth the read, there are three areas which make this a standout book on the topic of small groups;

  1. The Free Market small group idea.
  2. Defining small groups as a social gathering place.
  3. A detailed calendar process helping the planning of small group semesters a success.

Without going into great detail on the above points, the Free Market idea revolves around the fact that people within the church – potential small group leaders – can come with their own ideas for the small group they would like to lead. While there should be a framework of established topics, this leaves room for creativity and groups that otherwise may never be thought of.

The second point redefines the purpose of small groups. In the past, the small group concept revolved around a place where people can share their most intimate secrets. Reality is, this seldom happens in a small group. When viewing the small group as a social gathering opportunity, closer relationships will naturally grow out of the social gathering. The last point some will get excited over and others won’t. For me, as one who likes detail and planning, the simple idea of having a planning process in place year round, is very helpful. Instead of treating small groups as a ministry on the side, this helps create an atmosphere of the importance of small groups in any ministry.

For those who’ve been around the block a few times in the area of small groups, Activate is both refreshing, and helpful. While some of the ideas presented may be familiar, this book helps breath new life back into them. For those new to the small group concept, Activate is a must read if you’re looking to start a healthy small group ministry. But, the best aspect of this book revolves around the fact the authors don’t say this is the only way to do small groups. Instead of saying this is the magic book to help bring life to small groups, they repeatedly say, these are ideas, make them fit and work in your own church. There’s no one way to incorporate small groups into the ministry of a church, but Activate will certainly give you some good tools, ideas and concepts to get you started.

Overall, Activate is well worth the read and an incredible resource for ministry leaders looking to incorporate small groups into their ministry.

Click here to read the full review.

Your partner in ministry,


P.S.- Interested in picking up your own copy of Activate? Click here to grab your copy from Amazon today!

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 80 church growth resources and 15+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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