Should You Identify Small Groups by Age?

This is Kerrick Thomas here, Executive Pastor at The Journey and co-author of Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups.

Nelson asked me share today about another one of the questions that people ask regularly when setting up their Small Groups System – the question of whether or not to identify small groups by age, or to ask it differently, should you offer “age-graded” groups?

This is often asked by people who are transitioning from a Sunday School model or another approach that traditionally identified groups by age, and like a lot of questions when it comes to small groups the answer is… it depends.

Here at The Journey, we do identify some groups by age – but not all.

For instance, we have college-aged, recent grads, 20’s, 30’s, over 35 and over 40 groups. But many of our groups are just open, “general” groups for people of all ages.  Our average age is 29, so we’re still pretty young as a church.

My thought would be that the more diverse you are, age-wise, the more you might want to designate the groups.

We’ll also talk with the group leaders about it.  Usually, if the leaders are especially young or are older – you might think about designating by age as well.

I hope that helps!



P.S. If you’re ready to get intense with maximizing your church’s Small Groups system, check out The Small Groups Intensive.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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