Small groups can and will work in your context, but only if you truly understand your context. If you honestly answer my questions above, you'll have immediate insight into every small-group strategy that you encounter. You'll know in an instant if a model will fit your church.
So why do some small-group models work in your church and others don't? The simple answer is that every church is different. And that's okay. Let's celebrate that different churches are doing different things that reach different people.
There are tons of different approaches and models for small-group ministry, and as a consultant I've noticed something funny: small-group pastors can be somewhat "clannish" regarding their preferred models.
Whether you find yourself in the "Missional" or "Sermon-Based" or "Free Market" camp—or something else entirely—we can get more than a little opinionated about the "right" way to do ministry. But the people who created these models never intended to create what are essentially small-group denominations. They were simply trying to make disciples in a way that fit their context.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter which model or approach your church uses—as long as you're making disciples in a way that is true to the fundamentals of your church. Every model has its problems and its advantages. No model is perfect. Regardless of the model (or models!) your church winds up using, let's not forget that we're all on the same team with the shared goal of making disciples. Rather than be divided by our methods, let's celebrate the diverse and creative ways that disciples are being made through small groups—around the country, and around the world.
—Alan Danielson is the Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church in Norman, Oklahoma, and a small-group consultant.