Category Archives: Small Group Pastor

The Best Small Group Curriculum

Over the past 35 years I have used lots of great books and curriculum in leading small groups and discipleship groups—some of them written by me. Thinking of all of the good material I have used, my favorite small group curriculum now is The Good & Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith.goodnbeautiful

My friend small group author Greg Bowman commended the book to me several years ago. Based on Greg’s enthusiastic recommendation I picked up the book and started to read it. As I started into it for some reason I thought, “What’s so great about this?”, and I didn’t make it past the first chapter. Then last year our senior pastors, Hap & Di Leman, gave me and all of our senior leadership team a copy of the book and worked through it with us chapter by chapter over coffee on Wednesday mornings. The book thrilled me and was tremendously helpful in accelerating my spiritual journey.

More recently I went through the book with four other guys in a men’s discipleship group early on Wednesday mornings. The biblical principles in the book again were life changing for me and them. As one of the guys expressed, Read the rest of this entry

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How to Be a High Impact Coach

For most churches we are just launching a new church year. For the first blog entry of the year I want to focus on the dynamic that my researched revealed as the most important element for a church’s small group system’s health and growth—the effective coaching of your leaders. Coaching is pivotal whether you are overseeing small group leaders, ministry directors, church planters, pastors, or any type of leaders.

How can you be a high impact coach? Here’s my advice based on what I have discovered both through research and my practical experience

  1. Pray for your leaders. James writes, “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2) Jesus declares, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24) Pray for each of your leaders by name. A couple times a year I give each of my leaders a 3×5 index card and tell them to write down the things they want me to pray for their ministry and their personal life. I also use and really like the PrayerPartner iPhone app.
  2. Get your leaders together. While it’s very effective to meet with leaders one-on-one, it’s also more time consuming. Read the rest of this entry

How to Do Great Small Group Leader Meetings

To have a thriving small group ministry, you need leaders that are envisioned, encouraged, and motivated. The main way that you give your leaders the vision and encouragement that they need is through great small group leader meetings.

Unfortunately many churches struggle to do these meetings right and consequently their leadership meetings have minimal impact and are poorly attended. Doing great leader meetings isn’t that complicated, however. Here’s my advice on how do do them right…

  1. Provide food. Anytime you offer a meal it significantly increases attendance and fellowship. This involves some cost but it’s a small part of your overall budget and investing in your leaders is the best ministry investment you can make.
  2. Offer childcare. Probably many of your leaders have children. If you offer childcare, you’ll get a lot more of them there. Read the rest of this entry

Why Your Small Group Ministry Is Struggling (and What You Can Do About It)

If your church’s small group ministry is struggling, I think I know why. Based on 8 years as a full-time small group consultant, 12 years as a small group pastor, and statistical research involving the small group ministries over 200 churches, I see three key mistakes that cripple small group system growth. Do any of these apply to your church?

Problem #1: Not offering small group leader training often enough. The most common small group ministry mistake is not offering leader training frequently enough. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy problem to fix. Too many churches offer small group leader training only once or twice a year. Even in a small church, you should offer it at least three times a year. When you offer small group leader training, new leaders get trained and new groups can launch. (Blatant plug: ChurchSmart offers my excellent small group leader training DVDs for just $50.)

Problem #2: Not offering great small group leader team meetings. This problem takes two forms. First, some churches do not offer regular small group leader team meetings. Second, some churches offer them, but they are done wrong and few leaders come. You need to do great leader meetings at least quarterly. Read the rest of this entry