Rethinking Your Small Groups: Using Diversity to Encourage Growth

When you give your leaders the freedom to lead interesting, creative groups, you infuse your small group system with life. There are many advantages to allowing your leaders to choose the theme and/or topic of their groups each semester. Here are a few:

The availability of different topics each semester decreases the chances that people will sign up for the same group over and over again, which would put that group in danger of becoming inwardly focused. Interest in signing up for a specific study or type of group will outweigh the desire anyone might have to stay with one group leader indefinitely.

Different types of groups (sports groups, moms’ groups, writing groups, etc.) will entice nonbelievers and seekers who are attending your church to sign up. They may be more interested in meeting some new people and playing basketball than they are in studying James. At this point, that’s fine. Let them belong before they believe. Allow the group’s theme to bring them in–then they will connect with believers and learn about God.

People will grow faster when studying something they have an expressed interest in, which will allow you to more easily identify future leaders and potential staff people.

Men are more willing to join groups that are based on intriguing topis and built around creatively themed activities.

Let them belong before they believe. Click To Tweet

At The Journey, we allow our leaders to choose their own topics (which we approve) two out of the three semesters each year. During the fall semester, the entire church studies the same topic. But even while we are all focused on the same thing, there are still different types of groups available. For example, we will have women’s groups, artists’ groups, and professionals’ groups all focusing on a concept that the church is studying as a whole, with tied-in teaching at the weekend service.

Thanks to the power of a system, we have the ability to give our leaders huge amounts of freedom and still know that we will be pulled in if any problems arise. For all of you out there who are terrified by the thought of relinquishing hands-on control of your groups, rest assured that the system you will have in place is what will allow you to let go with confidence. Through your network of group leaders, team leaders, and staff, you will still be completely plugged in; you just won’t have to exercise growth-blocking control.

Thought it may not always be easy, it is always wise to let go and let God. Trust him with your leaders and trust your leaders with your people. Trust him with your leaders and trust your leaders with your people. Learn to decentralize–and watch your groups flourish.

– Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas, with Jennifer Dykes Henson

The above excerpt is from pgs. 105-107 of Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups.

Drawing from the startling success of small groups at The Journey Church, Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas debunk the myths, set the record straight, and show how church leaders can implement a healthy small group ministry that gets the maximum number of people involved and solves many of the important problems facing churches of all sizes. These practical strategies will produce life-changing results.

P.S. – 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 85 church growth resources and 17+ 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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