5 Warning Signs You’re Not Growing Your Ministry

“This is the course I wish I would have had 35 years ago when I started small group ministry.” – Steve Gladen

Presenting our new online training course – “Align!” Align will help you learn the small group ministry essentials. It features…

  • 8 HD video session taught by Steve Gladen 
  • A downloadable workbook
  • Lesson discussion questions
  • An official Small Group Network completion certificate
  • A special gift to help further your Small Group Ministry

Learn more by watching the free course introduction & enroll here!

As a point person for small groups, you are essential to the stability and growth of your church. Let me bring one bit of clarity to the term “growth.” This is not solely referring to numerical growth. This is important and occurs in health, to be sure, but it is also in reference to spiritual growth and formation. Growth requires establishing and building a foundation of healthy habits. The earlier and more consistently these are followed, the more growth will be acheived.

Here are five warning signs that you are not growing your ministry.


Society teaches and glorifies those who are “hard workers.” There is certainly a Biblical principle in working hard (Colossians 3:23), but the old adage to “worker smarter, not harder” rings true here. Busyness can pull one into fatigue and weariness. Identify the areas of your ministry of greatest impact and work those to see maximum effectiveness. You will find that this reduces your effort level and increases your return. You will also feel a renewed vigor for ministry.


There is definitely health in being content and it is important to appreciate the blessings that the Lord has in your life. But, if you find yourself risk adverse and okay with that status quo, you may need to reexamine this level contentment. There is always a new realm of ministry influence for a church community and growth is not attainable if contentment is the primary feeling.


Let’s be honest, sometimes being a point person is filled with completing a (seemingly) never-ending checklist. There are certainly weeks or even seasons that can be overwhelmed with this sort of action. But as ministers that emphasize relationships, we can never forget these relationships in our own lives. Replace the emphasis of a check list with a focus on relationships with your small group team members, group leaders, coaches, etc. These relationships will help catalyze any ministry’s vision more than any completed checklist ever could.

Additionally, form relationships with friends, partners in ministry, and mentors of Godly influence. These relationships will give you guidance, encouragement, and properly celebrate your ministry efforts.




As a young youth minister, I was constantly shaping sermons around other sermons I had heard. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this. It’s been done for hundreds of years in one form or another, but in this I neglected to let my own “voice” speak. God has given you a unique calling and voice for your community. Do not neglect it! You are in a city, church, and position because God wants you there! God has a special vision and purpose to be lived out through your own life and I encourage you to pursue it to the fullest.


Ministry can be a rewarding but tough world. The demand to serve is certainly a holy honor, but there are moments that this can be overwhelming. Likewise you likely have a story of attempting something early in your work and it not working out, someone throwing discouragement your way, or a combination of events that seemed to zap the zeal you once had. This occurs in many walks of life for sure, but eternity is affected by your situation the most. 

Let this article be a sign or quick reminder that the Lord is just beginning His work within you. With a world in constant chaos, turmoil, and pain, you hold the hope that is needed to overcome. Don’t lose hope or faith in your ability to be the one used in seeing people and families come to faith. Don’t forget that the small groups you help others start, keep resourced, and care for are the groups that will foster eternal relationships with our Heavenly Father.


  • John Tyler Black

    JT is the Small Groups Pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, GA. He enjoys connecting families with others and the local church. When he is away from the desk, he enjoys being with his family and all things basketball.

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Daniel Thomas

Connections Director



Daniel serves as Executive Pastor at Community Church of Mountain City, TN.  Daniel and his family are on a mission to establish roots within their community, fight for peace and serve well.  He serves as our Connections Director in laying the groundwork for Circles. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden



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