Help! My Small Group Ministry is Floundering

Yesterday, I spoke with a pastor who oversees the small group ministry at his church. It’s a growing church, somewhere around 1,100 people in the congregation. They do small groups—sort of.

They have groups for theological discussion, groups for accountability, and groups that meet together just to be a group. (I’m kidding, but you get the idea.)

He told me that his small groups are floundering. The question is; what can I do to make this important ministry thrive?

After hearing my pastor friend give some specifics about his small group ministry, and details about his current groups, one thing became clear to us both—they lacked a consistent focus. They didn’t have a point of connection for the whole church.

My counsel was to not have a small group for every unique interest, of for every person’s hobby-horse issue. The Pastor knows this. Yet it’s hard to rally around a consistent message when everyone has their own interest.

That’s why it’s so critical for any small group ministry—large of small—to have a Biblical foundation. A foundation based on the early church model we see in the Book of Acts.

“They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”Acts 2:42

This Biblical example gives a small group ministry focus, direction, and a clear point of connection for the entire church. It communicates, “This is what our small groups are all about—study, doing life together, and prayer.”

Interestingly enough, the practices of the early church have something for the person who wants discipleship and spiritual growth (devoted to the Apostle’s teaching and prayer) and to the individual who seeks accountability (fellowship).

Is your small group ministry floundering? Return to the Scriptures for a focus that is clear, concise, and one that has stood the test of time.

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Rob Bentz
Rob Bentz, is a pastor at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs, CO and the author of The Unfinished Church: God’s Broken and Redeemed Work-In-Progress a recent release by Crossway.