3 Ways to Reinvent Your Small Group Ministry


3 Ways to Reinvent Your Small Group Ministry by Rick Howerton

Sometimes our group ministries aren’t what we imagined.

Sometimes we realize that our small group ministry isn’t even close to accomplishing what we had imagined she would. We’ve evaluated, gotten counsel from folks more knowledgeable than we are, and have determined that tweaking isn’t enough, the ministry needs to be reinvented, start anew.

So what are some ways to go about that?

One option is to move to a new group system. Please know that there are at least seven different approaches to doing groups and there are a massive number of variations on each system. Realize, this will demand a redo of almost everything as every small group ministry demands, 1) a system, 2) a structure to support the system and the structure will change with a new system, and 3) a strategy to build that system. For a look at how to choose a system that is right for your church there are two blog posts listed in “If This Was Helpful Check Out…” at the end of this post that you’ll want to read.

Another option if you’re needing to reinvent your small group ministry is to group people differently. There are many ways to group people together. You may group people geographically, or by age, or by stage of life, or by gender, or by interests, or by hobbies, or by the theme of the curriculum piece a group is doing, or you might be putting all ages together in an intergenerational group. The list could go on and on. One way to reinvent your small group ministry is to consider grouping people differently. But be careful. If you do this simply to change things up, those who are happy in their present state will definitely mutiny at some level. This is a change that needs to take place over time and would probably be best to do as you start new groups not by demanding your existing groups make this drastic change.

A third option would be to change the makeup of your leadership team. This is a painful and difficult thing to do. But, after a period of time, some leadership teams find themselves in “group think.” Group think simply means that we’ve been together so long and think so much alike that new thought and ideas will never come to the forefront as long as we are the leadership team. New, creative, outside the old box thinkers will bring ideas to the table that will take your small group ministry to places she may have never gone to before.

Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet.” He is presentlythe Global Small Group Environmentalist at NavPress Publishing. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as a collegiate pastor, small group pastor, teaching pastor, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer speaking at or leading training in forty settings annually.


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