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In my small group role for Home Missions, this is the most frequent question:

“Our church wants to start small groups in order to grow community and disciples, what is the best method?”

I can’t answer that question; however I have discovered the process of leading a discipleship ministry that continually adapts to the local environment is more important than finding the right strategy. 

Our modern minds jump to solutions. If we do this, we will get that. So, we hear that XYZ Church has had great success with cell groups. We assume, if we plant cell groups, we will get the same result. I have learned that every church is a unique environment, with unique people, unique opportunities and unique challenges. Each church needs to go through a process of determining God’s call and design for their specific time and place.

I have found the gardening analogy to be a very helpful framework for understanding the leadership of  a discipleship small group ministry. Since it is spring, many of you will be getting your hands dirty in your gardens. This will be a great time to dig into the various leadership roles.

Here is an outline of the roles:

  • Posture of Prayer
  • Picturing
  • Planning
  • Preparing
  • Planting
  • Protecting and Problem Solving
  • Pruning
  • Propagating

Before we get started, I want to thank my neighbor for letting me borrow her gardening book. That’s where I discovered the all of the words that start with “p”! Thanks Patti!

What is your current process for developing and maintaining your garden of discipleship small groups?

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