Good Small Groups

I haven’t run into many people who say, “I want my small group to tank.  I want to lead my folks off of a spiritual cliff so that they’re further from God than they were before they even met me.”

Quite the contrary.

Most people want their group to succeed.  They want to grow spiritually and help others grow as well.  They want to have vibrant meetings that challenge people’s faith and encourage them to love God and others more.  They want to help foster healthy marriages and strong, God-honoring parenting.  They don’t want the group meeting to be a drag on anyone.  Rather, they long for everyone in the group to look forward to the meeting because they’re building healthy relationships with those in the group.

These people are willing to do what it takes to craft a successful group…they’re just not always sure what they should be doing to make that happen.

This week on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve been talking about what good small groups (and good small group leaders) should be in the business of doing.  Here are my thoughts.

Good small groups

  • Communicate with each other more than once/week.
  • Are filled with admittedly broken people.
  • Embrace those far from Christ.
  • Don’t just talk about the Gospel.  They apply it.
  • Serve their community as much as they serve one another.
  • Don’t avoid difficult relational issues. They work through them.
  • Look a lot like a healthy church.

Good small group leaders

  • Embrace the messiness of relationships.
  • Are quick to offer grace because they’ve been given so much [grace].
  • Ask for help.
  • Look a lot like good pastors.
  • Are patient with group members who are difficult to love.

What else do you think good small groups should be doing?

What else do you think good small group leaders should be doing?

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Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.