Home > Uncategorized > Planting new small groups isnt fun…growing them is

Planting new small groups isnt fun…growing them is

This past Sunday Ed Stetzer preached to us here at the Summit. It was awesome. Dr. Stetzer is a statistician who loves Jesus and is a gifted teacher. Most statisticians just have the gift of, well, crunching numbers. His sermon sunday hit home with me as he talked about the great role the church has in advancing the kingdom of God. One thing that stuck out in particular was an analogy he used for church-planting. he called it “birthing” new churches. The analogy goes like this…planting new churches is like having a baby. It requires a lot of preperation, and the event itself is messy & painful. But then 2 years later you find yourself wanting to do it again.

Planting a church is not a formulaic process and when it means people leaving the church to plant new churches, many might resist because they dont want to leave their friends or their comfort zone. But when a new church plant starts seeing people come to know & love Jesus, they tend to forget about the messiness and pain because the reward is so much greater than that sacrifice.

At the Summit, we use the same philosophy and even same language as our church planting center. That is, we want healthy small groups regularly planting new small groups. We dont want them “multiplying” or “splitting.” We want them raising up a core team who could be sent out from the group to begin a new small group experience with those who have not yet found a community of believers here at the Summit.

Is it messy planting new small groups? YEP! painful too. Ive personally done it 5 times in the last 3 years! But nothing is better than seeing new small groups take on their own lives and really begin to grow. Im telling you, its awesome. So if you are in a SummitLIFE group or if you lead one, you need to be thinking & praying: “When is our group going to plant a new group?” Talk to your group, we’ve got a lofty goal of planting around 45-50 new small groups in RDU in 2009. We better get rolling.

  1. December 2, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    I’m well aware that the majority of Small Group models is based around this idea of “birthing.” I’m curious what your experience has been, having birthed 5 groups in 3 years, in regards to intimacy and the depth of sharing.
    I know that many people have a hard time opening up and that a group that is constantly in flux can keep people from sharing.
    Of course, I do tend to be a little “glass half empty” on this topic, so I’m curious about what your personal experience has been with it.

  2. spenceshelton
    December 2, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Great Great observation and question. Ok, all healthy small group models have a process for growing their number of groups. So all of them struggle with those growing pains. I will tell you I have the same hesitation as you because I worry some people will never experience true intimacy in a growing small group ministry. Reality: this fear is largely unfounded in a “planting” model. Why: An existing group doesnt experience much flux in the planting model. It will send out and replace one or two (up to 4) people every 18 to 24 months. My example is a little extreme & comes from moving twice in the same area in those 3 years. So that was not one group planting 5 times in 3 years, but multiple groups I planted experiencing a group plant during an 18 month or so life span. May make this into the next post on here. If you are a group leader who has planted a new group recently I would love for you to add your thoughts to this comment section!

  3. December 3, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for the insight. I’ll be checking back to see if anyone else comments.

  4. July 7, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Great post. My team and I have been working toward moving away from “birthing” to “planting.” We obviously want it to be more than just a change of language.

    I loved what you said about the idea of a core team emerging from the group. That makes it a true “group” thing as they pray and think about who God might raise up. My group is planting a new group in August!

    This whole concept has been very exciting to me. We’ve even talked about how this mirrors, in some ways, a church plant. It was so cool to come across your post.

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