Multiply Your Options

Emphasize discipleship of individuals over multiplication of groups.

When I first became involved in small group ministry, there were two options for how small groups finish: multiply or die.

Years ago, we told groups they had to split or divide within a given time period, usually one or two years. Many of our groups resisted, and even revolted, so we got rid of the negative terms split and divide and began using more constructive terms like multiply or birth. Changing the words did not make much difference, however. Over the years, I have tried to give small groups numerous options for how they multiply, thinking that might help them to choose to reproduce. Still, groups balked at the notion of multiplication. (Am I alone in this?) I have done lots of vision casting, goal setting, and arm-twisting. I have prodded, rewarded, celebrated, shamed, urged, and manipulated, but none of these tactics have really worked.

I still believe in reproduction and multiplication. However, one thing I have learned and relearned many times over the years is one very simple principle:

Emphasize discipleship of individuals over multiplication of groups.

Here are a few sub-points:

  • Build an atmosphere in your groups where people can and do grow in their relationship with Christ.

  • Within that atmosphere, give them opportunities to serve together outside themselves.

  • Give individuals increasing amounts of ownership of the group.

  • Provide everyone with chances to serve one another inside the group using the spiritual gifts each one has.

  • Share the leadership of the group generously and liberally.

The atmosphere you as a shepherd-leader build will determine your ability to multiply the group.

With this in mind, I have developed a process for our groups at Northeast Christian Church based on several small group life-cycle ...

article Preview

This article is currently available to SmallGroups.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

free newsletter

Sign up for our free Small Groups Newsletter : Regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles.

Related

Eliminate Barriers to Community
Eliminate Barriers to Community
Structure your groups for maximum participation.
The Power of Vision
The Power of Vision
Articulate a clear vision for your ministry and see the amazing results.
What You Can Do to Develop More Women Small-Group Pastors
What You Can Do to Develop More Women Small-Group Pastors
Despite a plethora of female group leaders, few small-group pastors are women.
The Right Way to Do Small Groups
The Right Way to Do Small Groups
What I've learned from years of small group consulting
Should Your Small Group Become a Missional Community?
Should Your Small Group Become a Missional Community?
Why The Austin Stone made the switch
Multi-Site Small-Group Ministries Don't Have to Be Chaotic
Multi-Site Small-Group Ministries Don't Have to Be Chaotic
How one multi-site pioneer structures small-group ministry for success