Failing at groups

       One of the major themes of the Bible is that: FAILURE IS NOT FINAL. We can risk failure because we know that God is a God of a second chances. We can recover from failure because we know that God forgives and restores.       Consider the story of Jonah. The […]

Effective Ministry Leaders are Thieves

Recently, I heard my friend Mike Draper say that there are three types of football coaches: innovators, thieves, and the unemployed. He admitted he was no innovator, but he still has a job. In fact, he and his team are doing quite well. His secret? He is a skillful thief! Similarly, Rick Warren says, “If […]

The Power of Effective Bible Teachers

We desperately need an army of Effective Bible Teachers. What is an Effective Bible Teacher? An Effective Bible Teacher teaches so that people live according to the Bible. Effective Bible Teachers create doers of the Word and not hearers only. Effective Bible Teachers make disciples. Effective Bible Teachers result in classes that pray, people who […]

Innovate Your Way to Better Small Groups

The vast majority of the books I read, I don’t finish. Occasionally, a book is so good I reread it. Once in a while, a book is so good I start into it as soon as I have finished it. Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works was just that good. Here are a few key highlights […]

Don’t Try to FIX Your Group

One of the interesting insights coming out of the 12-step literature is that it is counter productive to try to fix each other. We can only fix ourselves. An atmosphere where we are constantly trying to fix each other will quickly squelch honesty. I do not want a group that is constantly trying to fix […]

Ecclesiastical Kleptomaniacs

It seems to me that a lot of churches are struggling. We know that statistically around 80% of our churches are plateaued or are declining. Many die every year. But, there some churches in America that are thriving. Outreach Magazine prints a list every year of the 100 Fastest Growing and 100 Largest Churches. Recently […]

Ideas on How to Create Your Own Small Group Curriculum

“How can I prepare, write, and publish small group curriculum?” I saw this question raised on the Small Group Network Facebook page the other day. I thought to myself, “This is the one topic I actually know something about.” I began writing curriculum when I was a small group pastor, and it has evolved into […]

Smartphone Discipleship

Smartphone Discipleship I hear a lot of talk about how dumb and unspiritual our phones are making us. There is surely some truth in that. In this article, I want to focus on how our phones can make us closer to God, closer to each other, and better disciples. Smartphone Quiet Time The fundamental discipline […]

How to Recruit Volunteers

I would be willing to volunteer. In fact, I would be happy to volunteer—maybe even honored—but I haven’t volunteered. And, there might be a lesson here about how to recruit volunteers. I started hiking a couple of years back. I hike mostly on National Park Service land—specifically the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. I didn’t […]

The 1st 5 Minutes of your Small Group are Critical. Are you Doing This?

The first five minutes of your small group are the most important. It is a good idea to start with some kind of icebreaker—a get-to-know-you question. Ideally, this will tie in to the lesson itself. For example, if you are teaching the story of the Prodigal Son, you might ask everyone where they fit in […]