Are Small Groups Still Important? 2 SGN Conferences coming to Australia in 2018!

Q Are Small Groups still important?

How would you answer this question? Those who look after small group ministry in local churches would answer YES! Those who are small group leaders would hopefully say YES (although their response may be dependent on how things are going with their individual group!) And I have no doubt that there would be a varied and wide responses from churches.

As a Small Group Point Person in my church as well as serving as the SGN Country Leader for Australia, I answer wholeheartedly YES! My dream and vision is to see small group ministry grow, thrive and where necessary be re-birthed here in Australia! I am so committed to this vision that in late Sept 2017 I floated a bold idea with Ron Wilbur (SGN International Connections Director) – I asked him; “Would Steve Gladen (Founder of SGN & Global Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church) be open to teaching a small group conference here in Australia?” It is now April 2018 and in just two months Steve will be here! I am very excited.  Melbourne 15-16 of June & Sydney 22-23 of June. Thank you Steve and thank you Ron!


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Part of my preparation for this event has been to speak with many church and denominational leaders around the question – Are small groups still important? I would like to share some of the responses I have been given: –

  • “Small Groups provide an environment where leaders are developed, spiritual gifts are discovered and released and where struggle, change and big decisions are carried together.” Neale Meredith Australian College of Ministries (Vice Principal)
  • “Small groups provide a context where the crowd of a weekend can become small and real. A place where people who are exploring faith and Church, can come as a first or next step. Small groups are not appendages but where people do life together.” Bill Brown Senior Pastor Syndal Baptist Church -Melbourne
  • “It is inconceivable that discipleship can effectively happen in large group meetings. So every Church should see small groups as a vital piece in the discipleship jigsaw.” Phil Waugh Senior Pastor Springwood Baptist Sydney
  • There is a significant difference between a congregation and a community.  In a congregation I can simply attend, in a community I am known by others, small groups are the building blocks of genuine community.” Andrew Ball Executive Director Fresh Hope (Churches of Christ in NSW and the ACT.)
  • “Sunday celebration services can be exciting and inspirational but small groups are where pastoral care and spiritual growth excel!” Pastor Barry McMurtrie
  • This is what Hillsong Pastor Steve Mawston had to say about Steve Gladen; “When I visited Steve at Saddleback Church I came away inspired, but more importantly, equipped. I have every confidence that you will come away from this Conference with a greater vision and a broader range of practical skills to build small groups and ultimately, help people! “ 

WOW – it is quite clear that these key leaders still think small groups are important. What about you?

If you do and you live in Australia or New Zealand can I encourage you to consider attending The Small Groups with Purpose Conference in June. If you don’t live in Australia but want to learn more about small group ministry or find a training event to inspire and resource you in your role then check out the SGN website


The Small Groups with Purpose Conference is brought to you by the Small Group Network and Tracey Ware (SGN Country Leader – Australia)

Melbourne 15-16 June

Sydney 22-23 June

($98 Early bird registration cut off is May16) Register here –


  • Tracey Ware

    Tracey has a heart and passion for small group ministry which goes back to her teenage years. It was in a small group that she was mentored, challenged and encouraged in her Christian walk. She believes that small groups have amazing (often unleashed) potential to impact not only the local church but our world! ?Tracey is an ordained pastor and has had many years’ experience in small group ministry in both NSW and Victoria – (Australia). She is currently the Pastor for Life Groups at Syndal Baptist Church. She was a guest presenter at the Twelve Conference in April 2015, and also established the first SGN Huddle in Australia in Sept 2015. (Melbourne VIC). Tracey is married to David and has two young adult sons.

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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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