Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders 5 Easily Overlooked Secrets to Building a Thriving Small Group Ministry

5 Easily Overlooked Secrets to Building a Thriving Small Group Ministry

hear from pastors all the time who are desperate to crack the small group ministry code. Many have tried multiple systems and strategies, only to be disappointed and discouraged.

It’s not hard to get in touch with their desperation. Often, it comes across as a mix of question and exclamation:

What does it take to build a thriving small group ministry?!?!

Here are 5 easily overlooked secrets:

1. It takes time to build a thriving small group ministry. Nothing of significance is built overnight. Anything truly worth doing is worth committing to for the long haul. Yes, Saddleback has a thriving small group ministry.  They’ve committed the last 15 to 20 years building it. Year in. Year out. Yes, North Point has a thriving small group ministry. They’ve committed the last 17 years to building it. Year in. Year out.  

2. It takes commitment to a strategy to build a thriving small group ministry. Switching to a new strategy every year (or every time you read a new book or attend a new conference) is a recipe for failure. Can you adjust to take advantage of new opportunities? Absolutely. In fact, you need to make strategic shifts when ministry windows end. But switching on what seems like a whim to your key leaders leads toidea fatigue.  

3. It takes personal commitment to authentic community to build a thriving small group ministry. If you truly want to build a thriving small group ministry it requires the personal commitment of your senior pastor. It requires the personal commitment of your staff and key leaders in your congregation. 

4. It takes a healthy budget to build a thriving small group ministry. Your budget reflects your true priorities. If you really want a thriving small group ministry, even your auditor will be able to figure it out. 

5. It takes willingness to shorten the discipleship menu to build a thriving small group ministry. You may think a buffet provides more entrees and more entrees leads to more diners, but what a buffet really does is make it hard to choose. And if you want to build a thriving small group ministry you need to make it easy to choose.  

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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.