If you don't know Ben Reed, you definitely should. Recently featured in Millennials Leading the Small-Group Movement, Ben is an advisor for SmallGroups.com, and he's been contributing articles since 2010. He deeply cares about people and group life, and he offers lots of wisdom in his articles.
Ben is no stranger to small groups. He joined his first group in high school when he and a few friends came back after a mission trip and were seeking a way to keep the spiritual momentum going. They "decided to get together on Friday nights to study the Bible and dig into each other's lives." Despite having no formal training, and not really even knowing what a small group was, they continued meeting and growing together. And Ben says that his life was changed forever: "in a way that 1,000 sermons never did."
Ben's been on the rise in the small-group world, and our former editor, Sam O'Neal, spotted him and asked him to begin contributing to SmallGroups.com. In 2010, he co-wrote his first article (with Alan Danielson) for our site, which is included in Planning a Short-Term Missions Trip as a Group. Ben writes practical articles that are favorites on our site. And it's precisely because he's been there. Ben says of writing for SmallGroups.com: "I love that I get to speak into the lives and ministries of men and women that are on the ground, just like I am. These are articles for practitioners who are stuck on the same things I’m stuck on, kept up by the same things that keep me up at night, and are passionate about what I’m passionate about." He loves getting to "help people in the trenches."
Ben has served at three churches: Student Pastor at Little Mount Baptist Church (Kentucky), Small-Group Pastor and then Executive Pastor at Grace Community Church (Tennessee), and Small-Group Pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church (Tennessee). But Ben is on the move: He recently announced that he's starting at Saddleback.
I caught up with Ben to get the scoop on his involvement in small groups over the years and his new role at Saddleback.
SmallGroups.com: How did you get involved in small-group ministry?
Ben Reed: It was random, really. I got a call from my friend Ron Edmondson while I was a student pastor at a church outside of Louisville, Kentucky. He said that they had a small-group pastor position open, and I said, “I didn’t know that was a thing.” My wife and I processed the potential move for a while and were confident God was in it, so we made the jump.
I had no idea that I’d step into an area of life and ministry that I’d grow so passionate about. It was absolutely God’s sovereignty that led us to group ministry, because I never would’ve chosen it on my own. Even though my life has been significantly altered by groups, I never saw that as a profession. I’m so glad God used my ignorance and the prompting of a friend, to get me to take the step into group ministry.
What keeps you involved in small-group ministry?
My story has been so shaped by groups that I want to create the kind of life-changing environment that I’ve been part of for others. I want others to taste and see that God is good through community with others. I want others to grow in their faith, and I know that won’t happen outside of significant, intentional relationships.
I’ve tried to do other things in ministry, but I continue to be drawn back to groups. It’s what fuels me in so many ways.