The Host Model

The Host Model

The basics of the popular small-group model made famous by Saddleback
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  • The pre-packaged curriculum is usually based on a church-wide campaign, which allows the entire church to be on the same page.
  • The size of the group is open. This gives the host and the group members freedom to keep the group small or invite others.


Of course with any model, there are weaknesses. Here are some of the host model's potential pitfalls:

  • Because the requirements are low for being a host, churches may recruit leaders who are not ready for the responsibility of full spiritual leadership.
  • With so many new groups and hosts, it's difficult to control (or perhaps even know) what's happening during the group meetings.
  • Host groups are dependent on the quality of the pre-packaged curriculum. Even if the curriculum is of high quality, it may not meet the needs or spiritual maturity of the group members. In addition, many pre-packaged curricula are not of high quality and may fall flat.
  • Because hosts are not required to continue leading the group after a campaign has ended, a church can lose as many (or nearly as many) groups as they gained during the course of a campaign.
  • With no limit on how large or small groups are, hosts could run into many issues with group dynamics. For instance, some people might not be willing to be transparent with one another if the group has too many people.
  • If a host decides they don't want to go through the leadership training and continue leading the group, group members can be left hanging, having to look for and join a different group—even one that has already been established.

—Jamie Mitchell served as an intern for; copyright 2013 by Christianity Today.

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