Home > Uncategorized > How to plant a small group pt. 4: Plant and workshop

How to plant a small group pt. 4: Plant and workshop

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“ , pt. 2: “1. pray and 2. tell people” , and pt. 3 “3.Recruit and 4. Soft Launch.

5. Plant the group

Finally! The time has come for all of your preparation work to yield some fruit. If for some reason you jumped straight to this step, oh boy. There is a reason it is the last one. Go back, and re-read. Hard work in the pre-plant stages will yield great returns over the course of your small group life. Ok, having said that here are a couple of things to consider as you plant the group.

The First Meeting

This gathering is so crucial it should honestly be an entirely separate article and training. In fact, you can find that article at spenceshelton.com/the-first-meeting. Hope it is helpful. Summary: Pray, Eat, & less is more. It takes a small group anywhere from 6 to 9 months to really gel relationally so don’t expect fireworks the first time you meet.

Limited initial commitment
Even after the recruiting and soft launch you still have not formally asked for a long term commitment. Invite those present to commit to that short-term time frame you gave them at the soft launch. (see step 4. “details”). Ask them to stick it out for 6 to 8 weeks. This gives people a respectable “out” if for some reason they do not want to continue with the group after that. Don’t worry though, almost always a small group that makes it to 6 weeks is going to want to continue meeting regularly for the next year or so.

Long-term commitment
I’ve seen way too many group leaders miss this step. 6 weeks in, things are going well and you in lieu of rocking the boat the leader does not formally acknowledge the purposes and goals of the group for its future. So the group continues to meet but without a goal in mind. This doesn’t seem like significant to the young excited group, but slowly the group will drift away from being an intentional bible-based Missional community and will become an amorphous collection of friends detached from church life.

To avoid this, consider putting together a covenant for the group members to sign, committing themselves to a certain set of purposes and goals over the next year or so. Ask your small groups coach or staff at your church to help you put this together.


The following questions are designed to help you think through the material above. The goal in working through these questions is to help you set up a plan to plant a small group 2 months from today. Certain questions are directed towards current small group leaders and others towards someone planting a small group. Work through these individually, and review them together with your small groups coach and/or small groups staff.

For Current Small Group Leaders
1.    The person most likely to plant a new group out of my group is…

2.    I commit to personally invest in this individual through…

3.    To see my group plant a new group in 2-6 months, I need to begin preparing my current group starting…

Today        30 Days          60 Days          90 Days
For New Group Planters
1.    20 people least likely to kill me if I invite them to the new group…

2.    Based on what I’ve heard tonight, I could potentially launch a new group when?

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