Here are the basic steps involved in the “give away your group” method of multiplication:
1. Share the vision with your small group.
Let the group know you are praying that God will raise up someone within the group to take over its leadership in the future. Let them know you’re not in a hurry, but you believe God has a plan for growth.
2. Pray for and identify potential leaders.
Pray regularly that God would reveal people in your group who have the potential for leadership, and try to identify at least one person or couple in your group that has what it takes to lead the small group effectively.
3. Look for the Five C’s as confirmation.
Those C’s are: Character, Competence, Chemistry, Consistency, and Caring. You want a replacement for your group who is on time, who has great character, who you get along with, who is a great listener, and who is caring, and who demonstrates a shepherding heart.
4. Make contact.
Invite the potential leader(s) to get together and talk about the idea of leading the group. Affirm the 5 C’s you’ve observed in them, and share that you’re praying they would consider taking over leadership of the group. Then listen to their response. If they respond positively, move on to the final steps.
5. Have them host in their home.
Ask the potential leader(s) to lead the group and host it in their home as a trial period, then meet with them afterward.
6. Choose a date to make the give-away.
Find out when they would like to take over leadership, and then announce that to the rest of the group.
7. Plan a launch party.
Have the small group “pray you out” as you look to start your brand new group. Celebrate the successes of your time with the group and the potential for ministry that exists going forward.
8. Start your new group.
Joe Windham is Executive Pastor of Small Groups at Grace Family Church in Lutz, Florida. Copyright 2009 by the author and Christianity Today International.