Holistic Small Group Ministries: Goodbye to Ho-Hum

Healthy churches have very definite ideas about why they do what they do and what they are trying to communicate and accomplish.

As effective as a wide variety of church programs may be in providing fellowship and ministry opportunities to members and casual seekers, small groups seem to corner the market on successful intentionality in true disciple-making. There is evidence to support that when it comes to small group ministries, churches that prioritize holistic small groups or home groups are verifiably more healthy than churches that do not prioritize holistic small groups [see Natural Church Development, Christian Schwarz]. Healthy churches have very definite ideas about why they do what they do and what they are trying to communicate and accomplish. Their small groups are not accidental or occasional. The leaders of such churches do not see holistic groups as just another option. They recognize that these groups create and sustain dynamic Christian community—which is essential to a healthy, biblical ministry. It is what Jesus sought to establish. Both the church leaders and the small group leaders must carry this vision and knowledge, which are essential to the success and health of the ministry.

In many churches, the small group coach, who oversees several groups or a system of groups, is the linchpin in the small group ministry. Unless the pastor also serves as the coach (as in a smaller church), the small group coach is the "network server" or the point person between the pastoral staff and the group leaders. As such, the small group overseer must see the vision clearly. Sometimes the Coach must remind the support system, above and below, of the holistic goals that keep the ministry focused and effective. The purpose of this article is to equip the small group coach to better understand, hence to easily communicate, the distinctives ...

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