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Ruth Kelder on June 14, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks for the great ideas, Mike. I'd like to be in your group!

You ask really good questions, Mark! I'm anxious to hear how others respond.

1. I'm not sure what you mean by "numbers." If you mean how many people are in a group, I think it's safe to say a small group has to be more than 2 people but is best if it doesn't exceed 12. Of course, the purpose of a group will help determine this.

2. While "enemy" is a pretty strong word, it does seem that if a church has most of its focus on building multiple programs, there is naturally less focus on building a healthy small group ministry. Mostly, it's a matter of time. How many different programs, groups or other ministries can people be involved in given our busy lives? Books like "Sticky Church" and "Simple Church" are examples of approaching ministry with less focus on programs so that time and energy is prioritized upon going about discipleship and mission through the community that forms in small groups. Halter and Smay also point out that consumerism, individualism and materialism are "enemies" of developing the kind of shared life that leads to transformation. Read "The Tangible Kingdom."

3. Wow! That really is a chicken-or-the-egg question! Do I dare say it can be a both/and? A church that takes mission seriously will be much more likely to develop missional small groups. I can't imagine a missional church doing ministry without them! Church plants have the privilege of starting this way. But I do believe that if a group of people committed to figuring out how to do mission together would intentionally start a mission-shaped small group, they will lead the way for the rest of the congregation. Once the stories are told about how God is using their groups to transform lives or neighborhoods, others will catch the vision. If a church could even get to 30% of its small groups being intentional about forming disciples for mission----watch out world! A good starting point may be to invite the most mission minded people in a church to form a small group that is intentional about mission

"Experiencing Community" by Thom Corrigan is a bit dated, but still has some valuable helps in it for groups that are just getting started. I know of a church that used it recently with a turbo group with great success.

I noticed a video-based study called "What If We Cared" by Alan Danielson. It is asks the questions, "What if we cared?", "What if we were honest?", "What if we failed?" and What if we got off the couch?" Check it out and let us know what you think!

I wonder if the under 35's are wanting to come back to a simpler, real experience of church based on conversations and relationships rather than video based materials.


My first serious introduction to spiritual disciplines was through "Christ Habits", a study produced through Ascending Leaders. Actually, I've gone through it twice with two different groups. I refer back to the materials often as I continue to be "in training" as one of Jesus' disciples, rather than just hoping to be one. The more I practice spiritual disiplines, the more I change and grow. This study was also my first introduction to triads. I have not found a better way to go deeper into the Word and each other's lives.

 Mavis, you asked a great question. "What it mean to make groups easy to join?" A few things come to mind. Small group choices and how to join them need to be communicated clearly and often. This can be done through newsletters, bulletins, lobby displays, websites, Facebook, personal invitations etc. Many churches launch new small groups a couple of times a year, often Sept. and Jan. During these "launches" people who are not in a group are given the opportunity to join a new or existing group. Also, people need to know that they are free to try a different group if they'd like to. Who wants to be stuck in a group where they are uncomfortable? This requires some thick skin on the leader's part, but in the long run is better for everybody involved. Often groups have natural breaking points at summer and Christmas. These are good opportunities to give people the freedom to move to another group or start a new one.

Aguilla1 makes a great point. The easiest way for people to join a group is through a simple invitation.

Anybody else want to share in idea or two?

Ruth Kelder on October 14, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank-you Kelib! It's so true that if we listen to the Holy Spirit, we will find ordinary, humble ways to show compassion to those we meet "along the way."

In my setting, I'd say we need to be informal and conversational. Being curious about the Word together leads to remarkable discoveries and conversations about them. I'd also say that it's important to meet consistently and agree to being accountable to one another.

Ruth Kelder on June 23, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

How about this? In the book, "The Complete Book of Questions" by Garry Poole, you'll find 1001 conversations starters. As you move towards the back of the book, you'll find some that are a little more intentional about leading into spiritual discussions. I also like the idea of inviting some folks over and asking them to write down some spiritual questions they would like to discuss. Future discussions together would be shaped around these questions.

I'm hoping others will chime in with more suggestions!

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