Small-group directors and small-group leaders alike are often short on time with big goals in mind. The content we create at SmallGroups.com is written with you in mind. Our articles provide perspective, helpful tips, and wisdom from experts who have been in your shoes. Bookmark this page so you can revisit these popular small-group ministry articles as you need them throughout the new year.
1. How to Pray for Your Small-Group Ministry
Head to battle with the appropriate spiritual weapons
Our small-group ministries are on the front lines of serving the body of Christ. No other ministry in the church consistently serves such a heterogeneous audience. Needy people and well-resourced people; new believers and veterans in the faith; people of all ages, backgrounds, and demographics are all part of our audience. How can one ministry serve such a widely disparate flock?
2. Tips for Facilitating a Group Discussion
Practical advice for working toward life-change, not spectacular meetings
For many small-group leaders, one of the more intimidating things we do is facilitating a group discussion. Very few of us feel like we'll have all the right answers, or that we can handle whatever curve balls will be thrown our way (and there will be some!). To make matters worse, it's even challenging to gauge whether we're doing a good job or not.
But here's the good news: that's not what facilitating a group discussion is really about. We don't have to have all of the right answers. We don't have to lead the perfect discussion every time. We don't even have to get through all of the material in each meeting! Read on for tips for facilitating a group discussion.
3. Facilitate Meaningful Group Prayer
Great tips from an experienced small-group leader
We've likely all experienced awkward group prayer. People are often hesitant to speak up and be vulnerable. But praying together can be a bonding and transformative experience for your group. These tips from Bill Donahue's Leading Life-Changing Small Groups will create a path for you to help your group participate in meaningful group prayer.
4. Why Small Groups?
The reason behind intentional Christian community
Churches use all sorts of names for small groups—life groups, growth groups, home groups, cell groups. They also use various models, numerous strategies for connection, various plans for assimilation, and church-specific vision and goals for their group ministries. Yet all would agree that small groups are a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. Small groups exist as a way for people to engage in biblical community that helps them become more like Jesus in every area of their lives. Read on for key biblical foundations, ministry purposes, and benefits of small groups.
5. How to Start a House Church
Five ideas to keep in mind when you're planting something new
House churches are not organizations that require people with administrative skills or immense giftedness to coordinate and direct a group—they simply call for ordinary people who are in love with Jesus. Neil Cole, in Cultivating a Life for God, believes that simplicity is the key to fulfilling the Great Commission. He says, "The more complex the process, the greater the giftedness needed to keep it going.'"
The really good news is that, to start a house church, you can lay down the burdens of planning how to cope with buildings, programs, and outreach strategies. You don't have to be an impressive leader (though you probably will have some leadership gifts). To start a house church, you simply need to open your home to friends and neighbors and take things one step at a time.
6. What Was the New Testament Church Like?
Acts 2 house churches have a lot to teach today's small groups
We often quote Acts 2 when we talk about the kind of small groups we want. We love the picture of community in Acts 2:42-47:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Before we commit to forming small groups that look like the Acts 2 community, though, let's discover what that community was really like.
7. 3 Steps to Start Your New Small Group
Ready, set, go!
Every small-group leader has been there: anxiously preparing for the very first group meeting. Your mind may be racing with thoughts of creating a comfortable environment, keeping group members engaged, leading a meaningful discussion, and making sure everyone wants to come back next week! We're here to walk with you through this exciting time with three steps to help you get ready for your first meeting.
8. 5 Mistakes That Ruin Small Groups
How to be an intentional small-group leader
Most returning small-group leaders really enjoy what they do. Leaders get a unique front-row seat to watch new friendships forming, people pushing themselves out of long-standing comfort zones, and God slowly but steadily transforming people's lives. Along with that, most leaders want to keep getting better leading. A big key to improvement is learning from mistakes. This article examines a few of the most common mistakes small-group leaders make includes some self-assessment.
9. The Four-Step Discussion Method That Works for Any Study
This simple small-group format teaches disciples to obey God
A simple but revolutionary way of doing small groups is sweeping the world. It started in India, but you can also find it in the suburbs of San Francisco, throughout the slums of South America, and among the Muslim tribes of Africa. Through this simple method, the lost are being won, disciples are being mobilized, and churches are multiplying. The Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) is a modern-day phenomenon, but it's really just a return to principles Jesus taught 2,000 years ago.
10. How to Be A Peacemaker
In a world that's hungry for peace, we must choose to work through conflict in our personal relationships
If it feels like our world is full of conflict, instability, and war, you're correct. In fact, of 163 countries in the world surveyed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, only 11 are not currently engaged in conflict. We live in a world that is basically defined by conflict and violence. But world conflict doesn't start with someone waking up one day and choosing to head to war. Before there are bombs, there are bullets, and before there are bullets, there are knives. Before there are knives, there are fists, and before there are fists, there are words. Before there are words, there is the condition of our heart. Violence has a flow to it that keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it all starts in our hearts.