About Me (Jim Egli)
Hi! I’m the Leadership Pastor at the Vineyard Church (Urbana, IL). We are a church with five campuses in East Central Illinois. My assignment is to multiply the number of leaders, small groups, and churches here, near and far away. It’s a fun and challenging job.
The purpose of this blog is to share what I am learning and to learn from you as you interact with me and the other readers. Since 1992 the central focus of my ministry has been small group ministry. For eight years of that time my full-time job was writing training and consulting with churches helping them to establish vibrant small group ministries.
In my quest to help churches like yours with small groups I completed a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from Regent University researching what differentiates growing small groups from stagnant ones and why some churches small groups ministry thrive while others struggle. If you want to learn more about what I and my fellow researcher discovered, you’ll want to pick up our recently published book, Small Groups, Big Impact, the most researched and I think the most practical book ever written for small group leaders. Here’s our story in a nutshell.
Proven principles for small group growth
Some churches’ small group ministries thrive and grow, while other churches—that try just as hard—have group ministries that struggle and stagnate. Why?
Dwight Marable and I set out to answer that question. We wanted to help churches across the country and around the world grow vibrant small groups that continually multiply leadership and reach an expanding number of people for Christ. Our quest turned into a massive research project involving over 3000 small groups in more than 200 churches.
Some of our discoveries were predictable, others were surprising. All of them were extremely simple and practical.
Our research focused on two primary levels—the small group leader level and the church level. On the first level, they asked and discovered answers to the question: Why do some small groups grow while others—in the same church and similar settings—don’t? On the church level, we sought the answer to the question:
Why do some churches have vibrant growing group ministries, while other churches’ groups fall flat?
We discovered four key small group leadership principles and three pivotal church factors. Our research results are revealed in their book Small Groups, Big Impact available from ChurchSmart Resources.
You can read a sample portion of the book here.