Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders 11 Things That Keep Groups From Working

11 Things That Keep Groups From Working

PROBLEM: The senior pastor isn’t in a group.


  1. Meet with the senior pastor and share the importance of the senior pastor being in a group. If the senior pastor isn’t in a group, others in the congregation will be less motivated to be in a group.
  2. Invite the senior pastor to join the group you or someone you know the senior pastor admires leads.
  3. Speak to the senior pastor about forming a group and that you realize the senior pastor needs to be able to choose the people who will be in that group.
  4. Say nothing to the senior pastor.

Obviously, speaking to the senior pastor about being in a group can be an awkward conversation. Before choosing any of the top three options above, ask yourself this question, “Is my talking with the senior pastor about this going to motivate the senior pastor to join a group, or is it going to create ongoing tension between us?” If the conversation is going to create ongoing tension, you probably don’t have a senior pastor who is going to join a group, no matter how important it may be.  If this is the case, PRAY!

PROBLEM: Small group leaders don’t know what their small group is suppose to accomplish in each group member’s life.

SOLUTION: Conclude what group life is to accomplish in the life of each person who is in a group, then instill that fact into the life of each small group coach and leader. Be careful… we may say the goal is to “make a mature disciple,” when the truth is we create a safe place to do life together. Or we may say that our goal is to instill the basic doctrines of Scripture into each life when the truth is we create a place for people to discuss what the Bible has to say about the issues they struggle with daily. We may say that our goal is for every group member is to be missional when in fact, we teach group leaders to focus on creating community more than training them to reach out to those in need of Christ. 

Bottom line… Once you determine what the group is to accomplish in each group member’s life you must then instill that fact again and again, then train the leaders to do the things that will create the outcome you’re looking for.

PROBLEM: Small group leaders aren’t well trained.

SOLUTION: Train them well. ‘Nuff said.

PROBLEM: Small group leaders have no one to turn to to find answers to their leadership questions.

SOLUTION: Make sure your leaders can find the answers they need when they need them. A few options, 1) Utilize a coaching system, 2) Get a subscription to Rightnow.org, 3) Teach your group members to search for answers on YouTube. Surprisingly, there are many small group leader training videos on YouTube, 4) Make group leaders aware of some blogs that are very practical and full of blog posts for small group leaders. Some good options are, Small Group Leadership by Mike Mack, Connecting in Communities by Eddie Mosley, Mark Howell Live by Mark Howell, and Heather Zempel Live by Heather Zempel, and this one.

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Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.