How should we train our new small groups ministry coordinator?


Our church has just hired a part time ministry coordinator for small groups.  We want to equip her as well as possible and have some ideas about training but wonder if there are good ideas out there.  What should be on our list of things to have her experience and learn and participate in as she acclimates to the work?  Courses?  Seminars?  Conferences?


Dave Den Haan

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Hi Dave,

Congrats to you and your church on your new s.g. coordinator!  A great decision!  I believe firmly that every church should make small groups/community life a high really see true discipleship and care for one another happen.  I was a s.g. coordinator at my church for a couple of years (and then resigned when my baby arrived).  I will say to check out --go to small groups and then scroll down to last one called "program support--s.g. tools".  The red and yellow books were overpriced at 22.99, but I see that they are on sale now for 5.99, so at that price, they are well worth the money.  The books are called "Launch adn LEad YOur own Small Group"  and "Seven Steps to Effecive Small Group Ministry".  Talk to your local home missions reps.  They should have s.g. ministry experience or recommendation.  Coffee Break conventions (now called Small Group conventions) are always a blessing--not sure how often they are offered.  Saddleback Church had some decent stuff 6-7 years ago, but I haven't looked at it lately.  A big thing to keep in mind is that small groups are more than just a Bible study group.  Small group goals can be formed with many different types of groups formed.  (The books listed above will explian more.)  I could go on and on.  You or your  coordinator can write me if interested. 


I just checked out Faith Alive Resources and found many books on sale.... thank you for posting the link.

Great!  Many thanks for pointing me in some good directions.  

Community Builder

There is a great resource called, Seven Steps to Effective Small Group Ministry;

BY David Stark

If he's never had any experience with small groups it has some great tools for structuring a program.

Just remember to tell him SMALL GROUPS WORKS....but make sure you give it time for the relationships within the groups to develop.

Community Builder

Dave: I didn't read everything....sorry!

You're Coordinator is a she, so I messed up there, and I see someone else suggested this resource also.

I was very skeptical 20 years ago when we begin small groups and my wife even had to drag me kicking in screaming (in typical Dutch stubborness....but I survived and I must say it was probably the best experience I and my family have had!!!

Thank you Albert!  Your comments on the skepticism you had initially leads me to wonder:  Why is it that we are so often leery of the very thing that God created us for:  Authentic Community?   That's a conversation that I'm having with our new Small Groups Ministry Coordinator-- hoping to uncover some insights and some ways to overcome that hesitancy in the people in our church who aren't involved in SG's.  

Community Builder

Not sure what the make-up of your church is; since I came from a CRC background, 40 yrs ago we were still in isolationist mode....however, the small groups that was started in a small evangelical church I attended after we moved to an area where there was no CRC. (I know, hard to believe, eh?) so the hesitancy was all mine, most likely from my upbringing.....but having married a dynamic non-Dutch CRC person, I was dragged "kicking & screaming" - sort of how God does it to us selfish sinners who love our sin like a pig in the mud -  and I am a better person because of it. As an aside, our church grew during those years from 125 members to over 800 members. I'm not saying that it was due to the small groups, but I'm sure it was an critical ingredient to it's success, in how we formulated our relationships amongst a core group of family ties.

Authentic Community is tough, because it takes time and that's the one commodity that we guard. That would be another lengthy conversation and I've been up since 1:30 am PEI time, so I'm signing out.....Ok, I admit it, I'm guarding my time ....LOL wishing you lots of luck with your small groups...jsut curious where the church is located?

We're in Jenison, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids.  Lots of CRC's around here-- some of which are still isolated from their broader communities.  Glad to hear that you're being nurtrured in your home faith community and that God is blessing the work there!  


Community Builder

Yes! Very, Very familiar with Jenison....In fact, I volunteered at Community CRC before coming to Calvin in the late 70's. The pastor there, PAstor Dave Struyk was my roomate at Calvin and we still keep in touch. The small groups definitely works better in a suburb to rural area where there is an extreme amount of disconnect throughout the congregation due to distances. 

And now that I'm rested, the authentic community thing is something I don't have to tell you, but it's because 2 things primarily. 1) Due to our fallen nature we daily regress toward our selfishness and wanting to be our own God, meaning we become independent and don't need other and 2) because society as a whole is marketing in a way that continues to drive us to be impersonal beings in relation to others (eg social media, online education, computer marketing) Anything and everything that entices us to not speak, see or relate to other people.

However, the biggest way to combat that (and don't set your goals to high, because it is a slow uphill process) is realizing, accepting and understanding it is happening and consciously and intentionally planning ways that bring people together. OK, there's something to chew on for a while....PS I'm in PEI, Canada....presently at a CRC.


Good stuff here,

One thing I would suggest is that your SG Coordinator get some coaching.  And since you're in Jenison MI I would suggest contacting  Sam Huizenga at the CRC Home offices who can set your director up.  I would also encourage the church to expand the library to include some of the books -- or all of the books -- suggested in the Forum discussion Small Group Resources.  If your director was very involved in Coffee Break I would suggest some broader reading to deepen a SG philosophy for the whole church.  

I'm also available for consultation with her online, by phone or skype.  Just let me know.