Best Practices for Integrating Worship Services and Small Group Ministry?

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Our church has both a Sunday morning and evening service, and we are looking for guidance on how to continue that AND do a small group/growth group ministry.

We currently have an overwhelming number of options of Bible studies for men, women, and couples, prayer groups, intergenerational social groups, etc. Some people are involved in multiple groups, and many are involved in none.

We'd like to establish a "Discipleship Pathway" where new members know how to and are expected to get plugged in, and all members belong to a small group/growth group.

If you do that well or if you have any thoughts, I'd love to chat! 

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Hi Ashley, 

Great topic for conversation! Willow Creek did valuable research on the topic of growing disciples. I think it could be really helpful for you. For instance, The Reveal study describes people in four different stages of faith development: Exploring Christ, Growing in Christ, Close to Christ and Christ Centered. Each group has different growth needs related to spiritual behaviors and attitudes. They also found spiritual growth for the different groupings happened in different settings. For instance, small groups move and develop those Close to Christ but large group gatherings were more effective in moving growth in those Exploring Christ. Those Christ Centered grow more through small accountability groups and through serving. They also found that more church activity did not predict greater spiritual growth! 

I'm thankful for the Reveal research. It shows us there is not a one size fits all approach. And, I found it is helpful to think less about the organizational structure - small groups, large groups, programs - and think more about how to develop Christian practices. For instance, in what way do we want people in our congregation to engage with neighbors and the community? What if we could work backwards and start with the behaviors, practices and attitudes of how we want our people to live? How would programs and structures - like small groups -  be impacted? 

I'm a long time Coffee Break leader and serve as the Coffee Break Program Manager. Coffee Break is a program that helps participants actively dig into the Bible and talk together about what they are learning.  Its a program or type of group but the focus is on developing practices of Bible engagement, listening, story telling and engaging with people who have never read the Bible before.  

So much to think about! I would be happy to chat!