Developing a Small Group Ministry Bob Mayfield Arizona Southern Baptist Convention
Seminar Agenda • Types of small groups • Small group structure • 7 Deadly Sins of a Small Group • 40 Days of Purpose Small Groups • Discovery Communication techniques
Types of Small Groups Name some different types of small groups • Discipleship Groups • Accountability Groups • Support Groups • Men’s/Women’s Groups • Open Groups • Sunday School • Prayer Groups
Small Group Structure If you believe that small groups require directive, supervisory leadership move to the left side of the room. Move to the right side of the room if you believe that small group ministry requires a supportive, uncontrolling style of leadership. In your group, discuss why you believe this.
Church with groups Help people find place Centralized placement Reactive Leaders Curriculum chosen by leader Low authority of church over group Group based evangelism is possible Low monitoring of groups Church of groups Building community Group invitation Shepherd leader Curriculum recommended by church Low authority of church over group Group based evangelism is encouraged High monitoring of group Small Group Models
Church IS Groups Model • Primary expression of the church • Groups assigned by geography, group is responsible for enlisting people • Pastor-shepherd leaders • Curriculum designated by church • High authority of church over group • Group based evangelism expected • High monitoring of groups
A church WITH small groups = turf wars A church OF small groups = a network of smaller communities within the church A church IS small groups = the group is my church
Critical Question for SmallGroup Success What kind of small group would you rearrange your schedule for?
Seven Deadly Sins of Small Groups Sin #1 – Unclear Ministry Objectives • Leaders can’t agree on purpose • Church members expect too much attention from the pastor/staff • Those most committed to small group ministry are getting frustrated • Small groups have a myopic vision & don’t know their role in the church
Seven Deadly Sins of Small Groups Sin #2 – Lack of point leadership • The small group ministry lacks a designated, passionate leader • Pastor and staff are uninvolved in a small group • Distributing leadership, instead of having a leader • Leader lacks clear objectives
Having a point leader or small groups leader is not enough You need the right point leader doing the right things!
Seven Deadly Sins of Small Groups Sin #3 – Poor coaching structures • Burned out leaders • Small groups are too large • Leaders are unclear about their role • Leaders are seen as ministry channels, not as people
Seven Deadly Sins of Small Groups Sin #4 – Neglecting Leadership Development • Too many people are uninvolved • No one knows or sees the leadership potential of the church • Senior leaders are not modeling leadership development
Many church’s use the “can the person fog a mirror” as a criteria for small group leadership Leadership is too important to “throw” people into. Leaders must be developed
Developing Leaders • Leaders require training! • Informal training is better than formal • “Turbo” leadership groups • OJT leadership groups • Expose leaders to churches or conferences that will expand their horizons • Develop a leadership pipeline • Build a leadership culture
Leadership Culture • Annual retreats • Pilgrimages to Willow Creek, ACE, etc. • Involve leaders in special opportunities • Talk leaders up from the pulpit • Special informal times with leaders (standing breakfast at a restaurant each week)
Seven Deadly Sins of Small Groups Sin #5 – Closed Group Mindset • The “open chair” is merely symbolic • Leaders are untrained into how to invite people into the group • Groups have little passion for seekers, or even fear having seekers in their group • Unable to relate to the lost when they do come • “Comfortitis” – the open chair vs my reserved seat
Closed Groups • Group is shocked when seekers act like seekers • Group sugarcoats its problems • Using “churchspeak” • Intimidates seekers with Scripture • More interested in studying “Revelation” than in meeting seeker needs
Seven Deadly Sins of Small Groups Sin #6 – Narrowly defined “small groups” • “One size fits all” strategy • Narrow range of entry points into groups • Limiting what counts as a small group • Potential leaders are missed because of narrow definition of small group
Seven Deadly Sins of Small Groups Sin #7 – Neglecting the Assimilation Process • Newcomers feel isolated, have difficulty joining a group • No system in place to collect data on newcomers • No “pathway” into groups • No person is following up on assimilation
Small groups is the key to an effective 40 Days of Purpose Spiritual Growth Campaign Thinking EXPONENTIALLY (2 Timothy 2:2) Train your leaders *ACE Conference *Special training day for ALL group leaders at the church.
Familiarize your leaders with the purpose of small groups, the materials, how to lead a group, and how to enlist a group
The Purpose of Small Groups in 40 Days • Involve a greater number of people in a focused study • Increase the church’s “vision potential” • S-T-R-E-T-C-H • Discover new leaders • Engage people in community and outreach
Materials for a 40 Days Small group • Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren • 40 Days of Purpose small group study guide • Video curriculum • Scripture cards/key chain
How to lead a 40 Days small group • Relax, and let Rick do the teaching • Facilitate discussion after the video • Do NOT sermonize or “teach” • Encourage less talkative people to share • Allow ample prayer time • Always remember that people are “cueing” off of you. Consider your posture, tone of voice, etc.
Enlisting your group – the real KEY to a successful 40 Days • Institutional or Organic • Institutional – done through SS or sign up sheets. Lots of “church” control • Organic – each host home is responsible for enlisting their group • NO GROUP can be ALL church members!
Child-Care • Groups that meet on Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings etc can bring children to church and then go to group • Hire teenagers to babysit in the host home • Hire teenagers to babysit in the home of a group member, but NOT in the host home • Each family take care of its own childcare
Sample Small Group meeting 15-30 minutes – meal, refreshments, etc 15 minutes – CONNECT 35-45 minutes – GROW. Memory verse, video segment, and discussion 10 minutes – SERVE/SHARE 15 minutes – WORSHIP. Discussion and prayer
Bibliography Arnold, Jeffrey. The Big Book on Small Groups. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992. Donahue, Bill and Russ Robinson. The Seven Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002. Stark, David and Betty Veldman Wieland, Growing People Through Small Groups. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2004. Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.