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The Single Most Important Thing in Leading a Small Group

leading a small group

What is the single most important thing in leading a small group? Joel Comiskey and I surveyed over 1,800 small group leaders from around the world to discover what makes small groups grow. One thing emerged as most important. Here it is: Quit doing everything yourself and involve others!

Expressed as one-word verbs, there are four key actions that fuel small group growth. They are pray, reach, care and empower. Each of these is important, but the one that the statistical analysis pointed to as most important is empower.

Small group leaders that involve their members in leadership and ministry in their group have groups that grow significantly faster.

Here are the 10 specific questions that we asked leaders related to empowering. They responded to each of them on a five-point scale indicating: never, seldom, occasionally, often or very often.

  • I make a special effort to notice small group members’ gifts and abilities so that I can involve them in ministry in our group.
  • At one of our typical small group meetings, several people may lead different parts of the meeting.
  • When the church offers small group leader training, I seriously consider whom I should encourage to attend.
  • I meet every week or two with an intern or apprentice whom I am preparing to lead their own group some day.
  • I am constantly looking for small group leadership potential among the members of the group.
  • When I minister to a member in a time of need, I take an intern or apprentice with me in order to teach practical ministry skills.
  • I talk to members of my group about their leadership potential.
  • Other people besides me lead the Bible study portion of our small group meetings.
  • I encourage members to take risks and to try new things in ministry and group leadership.
  • I like to lead the entire small group meeting myself. (This final question was “reverse loading” meaning that it inversely correlated to group health and growth.)

Do you want a vibrant, growing group? If so, take some time this week to pray and think about how you can best involve your members in leadership and ministry.


This article on leading a small group originally appeared here and is used by permission.