Frequently Asked Questions

Downloadable Content

Can I contribute content?

The following guidelines and information apply to potential articles for SmallGroups.com. To learn about submitting material for premium training downloads or Bible studies, see the section "How can I share my church's small-group material with SmallGroups.com?" to learn about our Share tool.

Who visits SmallGroups.com?

SmallGroups.com readers are men and women who represent a broad spectrum of denominations, degree of education, background, experience, and expertise. Over 50,000 small-group leaders and pastors read and grow with SmallGroups.com. What they have in common is that they are deeply involved in their churches, help lead group ministries, and want to train others to lead well.

What is SmallGroups.com's personality?

Every article on SmallGroups.com must provide practical help for problems that small groups face and advice for being a more faithful and effective leader.

SmallGroups.com articles are not essays expounding a topic or editorials arguing a position, nor are they homilies explaining biblical principles. They are how-to articles, based on first-person accounts of real-life experiences in ministry. They allow our readers to see over the shoulder of a colleague in ministry who then reflects on those experiences and identifies the lessons learned.

The specific personality that readers expect is that of friendly conversation rather than directive discourse—"what I learned about local church ministry" rather than "what you need to do."

Our readers expect our articles to be fresh and candid, and to reflect the honesty of the writer—describing disappointments and struggles as well as triumphs. Our articles should never insult a particular leader or tradition; they are to be "pro-church" in their tone and content. Each article must balance "what went well" and "what didn't go so well." We find this allows our readers to identify more readily with the situation and gives the writer more credibility.

What are the qualities of a SmallGroups.com article?

Each article should be between 600 and 2,000 words on a topic of significant interest to small groups. We're looking for articles that describe real experiences, paint vivid scenes that those in ministry can identify with, and offer a fresh perspective on the topic. Readers can see what went wrong and what went right—valuable lessons that keep them from learning the hard way. Writers must show that they understand the complexities, joys, and pain of small-groups ministry. Then they can offer right-to-the-point counsel on the practical issues: the conflicts, temptations, mistakes, and successes.

SmallGroups.com articles are often handed out to leaders and volunteers in the church, so these servants can lead with faithfulness and effectiveness in their ministry roles.

What kind of articles is SmallGroups.com looking for?

We're looking for insightful, practical articles on issues that are relevant to the people and situations unique to small-group ministry. These are the top topic areas in whichSmallgroups.com does most of its work:

Administration – Tools for the legal and financial aspects of small-group ministry
Connecting – Resources that strengthen the bonds within communities
Group Dynamics – Manage and support the relationships within your group
Launching – Start a small group or an entire small-groups ministry
Leadership – Resources for people in positions of ministry responsibility
Meeting – Resources that prepare group leaders and members for regular gatherings
Teaching – Improve the communication and application of biblical principles
Training – Educate and equip your small-group leaders
Audience – Resources that apply directly to specific people groups or situations
Group Format – Resources that apply directly to specific types of small groups

Does SmallGroups.com prefer a particular style?

We are not looking for a formula type of writing in SmallGroups.com, but we are looking for a readable, commanding, and fluent style. We believe SmallGroups.com's impact is enhanced through fine and fascinating writing. We want to produce such a well-written, practical site that the reader will always approach SmallGroups.com with a sense of anticipation.

Have you read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White? We recommend this widely read little paperback as a guide for style.

  • Use action verbs. Forms of the verb "to be"—is, was, were, etc.—make for dead writing. In every possible case, pick forceful verbs.

  • Use anecdotes. Each point in a SmallGroups.com article needs a carefully chosen illustration, colorfully written. By basing principles in specific experiences, we show how to minister effectively amid the complexity and ambiguity of real life.

  • Use short sentences whenever possible. Variety of length, of course, contributes to good style, but writers err more often with too many long sentences than short ones.

  • Use long words only when necessary. Some critics claim scholars and professionals purposely write to confuse meaning, to cover fuzzy thinking, or to sound intellectual. Of this SmallGroups.com writers will never be guilty!

  • Assume your reader bores easily, and that he or she has a mound of other projects to move to if necessary. Remember, if he or she skips the article from lack of interest, you've lost! Keep asking yourself, "What grabs my attention? An illustration? A fresh insight? A well-turned phrase?" Keep the reader with you by introducing a constant stream of interesting material.

How can I submit a query?

SmallGroups.com welcomes article ideas from our readers. Please send a brief query letter describing your idea and how you plan to develop it, along with other writing samples if you have them and why you are particularly qualified to write on this topic. We will respond as quickly as possible—almost always within two weeks.

Send your query to:

Editor, SmallGroups.com
click here for an online form

Put your name, address, telephone numbers, church name and address, and your position at the top of the e-mail.

How should I submit a manuscript?

Only after you've sent a query. If your query is accepted, you can write the article. Please send your submission electronically. When sending your manuscript, include full name, address, and phone number, plus church name, address and phone number, and your position. Please realize that we can't publish every manuscript we receive. If we decide to publish your material, it will appear in an issue of the SmallGroups.com e-newsletter and also will be part of the website. We'll try to give you a good idea as to what issue of the e-newsletter in which it will be published.

I wrote a book. Will you publish an excerpt?

Possibly, as long as it's not self-published. We often excerpt books on topics for small-group leaders. With any book excerpt, we include an image of the book cover, the title, author, and a link to where our readers can read more and purchase it.

You can either (1) send us a print copy of your book with a recommendation as to what to excerpt, or (2) send us an online query with the excerpt you think would work as an article, along with information about your book.

Christianity Today International
SmallGroups.com
465 Gundersen Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188

Or

Editor, SmallGroups.com
click here for an online form
Thanks for your interest in writing for SmallGroups.com. Send us a query or a book excerpt, and let's get started.

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