Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders 10 Fantasies of Churches With Small Groups

10 Fantasies of Churches With Small Groups

What prevents many churches from realizing their desire to become churches OF small groups?*  Most of the time, they’re stopped in their tracks by one or more of these fantasies:

  • Fantasy #1: We can keep the peace by making small group participation one of several menu items that are promoted equally as “the way we help people grow in Christ.”
  • Fantasy #2: It is enough to promote small groups once a year, annually every fall, along with everything else that’s starting up with the new ministry season.
  • Fantasy #3: An announcement at the end of the service is all our people need.  Anything more is overkill.
  • Fantasy #4: We can make this happen without the senior pastor’s vocal and continual support.
  • Fantasy #5: We can go from a church “with” groups to a church “of” groups in one ministry season.
  • Fantasy #6: We don’t need our senior pastor to be the small group champion.  Why are we paying the small group pastor (or director) for if we can’t delegate the champion role to them?
  • Fantasy #7: We don’t need to start new groups until we fill up the groups we already have!
  • Fantasy #8: All of our groups use the same curriculum. It provides everything that every group needs.
  • Fantasy #9: We don’t need to provide next steps for our newest groups.  They’re all adults. They can figure out what to do.
  • Fantasy #10: We don’t really need to change our approach. Trying harder or tweaking what we’re doing will fix it next fall.

By the way, even healthy churches on the way to becoming a church “of” groups often have a fantasy (or two).  At the same time, when fantasies go unchallenged, they will prevent or delay the decisions that lead to “of,” where nobody stands alone.

* It probably needs no explanation, but a distinction was made at Willow Creek between churches “of” groups and churches “with” groups.  To be a church with groups means that you do have small groups…but it’s not the expectation that everyone be part of a group.  To be a church of groups means that everything happens in groups and everyone is expected to be part of a group, where life-change happens.

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Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.