How to establish intentional disciple-making church small groups

What this webpage gifts you

This webpage has a few gifts for you as a local church or small group leader.

  • The first relates to mobilising outreach through church small groups.
  • The second relates to making ‘disciple-making disciples’ through church small groups
  • The third is links to a few other resources.

Context

The early church met in the synagogues, and from house to house. Christianity was a ‘house church’ movement until it became the state-sanctioned religion at the time of Constantine. From then onwards the larger gathering became the focus — like it still is in the West today.

However, it remains that the mission of the Church (making disciples of non-disciples) is the mission of the church small group.  In addition, God always intended that Christian fellowship in small groups — because the 50 or more ‘one anothers’ of the New Testament could not be applied in any other context! God’s vision for our churches had our church small groups near the centre — not as an extra.

The necessary inclusion of our mission in our groups is a perspective that has often been overlooked — but let it be so no more! 

Gift #1: Outreaching Culture — for small group leaders

This 16-minute video for small group leaders in local churches (also at /ATConsulting) explains the habits through which small group leaders could also work to equip and mobilise church members as everyday conversational witnesses. Through these habits they have the power to AMPLIFY the pastors efforts through the ‘outreaching culture’ strategy explained above. The stated goal is to ‘reinsert’ the mission of the church small group into these groups – in recognition that many groups are already serving other good purposes.
A notes sheet, with discussion questions to go with this video can be downloaded here. This explains a ‘paradigm’ of leadership that can see members sustainably mobilised.

Gift #2: Intentional disciple-making through small groups

Introductory message on the important of church small groups

A stirring 40 minute message on the importance of church small groups if the Church is to more fully become what God intended it to be in this world.

In this message Dave traverses history and Scripture to present a compelling challenge, principally suggesting that the goal is not that we have churches with small groups, but instead become churches of small groups.

30 min small group leaders training (1 of 3)
— with Dave

The above audio is an introduction to the importance of small groups.

The video here is the first of three — summarising 8 key areas of training, to enable small group leaders to deliver measurable results. The goal is disciples who make disciples.

Download student notes for all 8 sessions (3 half hour videos) here.

All within 30 minutes — this first video concisely articulates:

  • Three key goal areas — and how to achieve them through simple ‘fringe’ habits (because habits are what builds culture);
  • Programme flow and priorities;
  • Discussion leading tips — Part I.

30 min small group leaders training (2 of 3)
— with Dave

The text next to the first video explains what is being gifted here.

Download student notes for all 8 sessions (3 half hour videos) here.

This second of three videos covers:

  • The essentiality of small groups to the function of the Church;
  • Small group life-cycle;
  • The essentiality of annual goals to life-changing small groups (including outreach goals);

30 min small group leaders training (3 of 3)
— with Dave

The text next to the first video explains what is being gifted here.

Download student notes for all 8 sessions (3 half hour videos) here.

For this final session — also download the sample ‘calendar’ (as a editable Word doc) here.

This third of three videos covers:

  • Discussion skills — Part II (group management)
  • Planning (putting it all to practice — to deliver measurable results).

Gift #3: Some other free resources

(A) BOOKS:

  • Download Chapters 6 and 7 of ‘Elephant in the Room’ by Dave Mann here or purchase the book via our shop.
  • Read chapters 12 and 13 of ‘Because we care’ by Dave Mann. Purchase here.
  • Read ‘Generations for Life’ by Tony Collis (half of this book is about small group ministry — tony@shininglights.co.nz)

(B) ONLINE RESOURCES FOR YOUR USE WITH YOUR LEADERS: 

You will find a chapter by Dave Mann on how to lead a ‘cell’ ministry (Chapter 5 of ‘The What and How of Youth and Young Adult Ministry — Singapore version’) here.

Please freely discuss your small group vision and strategies with Dave Mann and Tony Collis. Both have had significant experience in bringing leadership to small group ministries / small group movements.