Home > Uncategorized > How to plant a small group pt.2: Pray and Tell People

How to plant a small group pt.2: Pray and Tell People

This series is an edited version of a teaching manuscript the Small Groups Team at the Summit Church used in our first ever “how to plant a small group” seminar held in May of 2009. Read pt. 1 on “Motivation.

HOW

With an understanding of why we need to plant more small groups, the below are a few steps designed to set you up for success as the leader of a new small group. Please follow these with the guidance of your small group leader and/or small groups pastoral staff.

1.    Pray

Too often we tend to jump into a task, especially one at church, without seeking God for wisdom in discerning whether or not this is the season of life to commit to it. If you commit to leading a group at the Summit, we want you to do so only having prayed significantly over it. If your current group leader challenges you to lead a new group, ask him or her to pray with you over the decision. This is not to scare you away from leading, but instead to encourage you in your prayer life. As a group leader we on the Summit Small Groups Team will encourage you towards a rich and faith filled prayer life. If you are not at the Summit your pastoral team at your church will likely do the same. Let me give one caveat: do not spend forever “praying about” the decision to plant a small group. Pray, evaluate your life situation, read your bible, seek Godly counsel from others around you, then act. Since I know I just touched on understanding God’s will, read our lead pastors recent blog on Finding the will of God.

2.    Tell People

Tell your group
Start this week introducing the group planting concept to your group. Start encouraging your group members to think missionally. Encourage them to pray with you about the next phase in your group plant. Hopefully your current group is having a good experience. What if you could tell them “hey, invite everybody you want to small group.” If your group is maxed out with people, that can’t happen. When you start adding the 15th, 16th, etc, persons to your group, statistics say they will be the least likely to “stick.”

Listen, for an existing group, this is the biggest hurdle. I think we all know this, especially those of us who have done this before. The reason it is a big hurdle: real biblical community is sadly hard to find and when you find it you don’t want to let it go. Your group members fear you are trying to destroy relationships they were created by God to be in. Why would you do that? 2 responses for you:

  • We are a church; a missional people intent on making disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do sacrifice some comfort when we take up the missional nature of the church. It would be a lie to say biblical community is always comfortable. From Pastor Spence: watching my closest friends leave to plant churches in Boston, Central Asia, Africa, and East Asia is not comfortable. Knowing I may never see some of them again before heaven is not ideal to me. Yet I rejoice in their departure. Because I have accepted it is not about me and my comfort, but the exaltation of Christ among those yet to worship him.
  • Planting new groups is different than splitting them. We are not counting off “one, two” and the ones are a new group. We are sending out a core group from your group to plant a new group that they can add many more people to. And do not fear you will never see this core group again! They are not church planting but group planting down the road, in the same church. I get villainized more than any pastor on staff because of this misunderstanding. The assumption is “Spence wants us to break up.” Of course I never want people to cut friends out of their lives. What I am after, what the church is after, is equipping people to fulfill the great commission of Christ to make disciples. when you tell me you’ve been in the same small group for 30 years and you’ve developed “deep friendships” a part of me cringes because I wonder how many disciple-making opportunities you have sacrificed on that “deep friendship” altar.

If you are not currently in a small group, you should consider joining a group before starting a new group. This is the best way to get to know the intent your church has for how its small groups operate. While their will be exceptions to this principle (no group within 20 miles of you for example), and even if you have prior small group leading experience, participating in group life at your church before leading in it will most often prove to be a valuable first step.

Tell your Small Groups Staff

Your small groups staff is set-up as a resource to help you succeed as a group leader. The sooner you enlist their support, the better your chances for success are. They will be able to provide you with the training, resources, ideas, and ongoing coaching you need to develop into a mature group leader. Too many individuals embark on this journey without ever consulting their pastoral team. Often, these same individuals burn out from exhaustion or failure in recruiting, or they drop out of the church because they establish a small group totally disconnected from the life of the church. Neither of these are God’s design for discipleship. Talk to your pastoral team. Again, they are there intentionally for you and you would be wise to take advantage of such a resource!

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