Building a Small Group Ministry Model – 4 Things I Learnt from a Bus Company

  1. Destination is integral

Think about it. You don’t get on board a bus unless you know where it is going! You look at the sign or number of the bus and jump on when you are sure it is going where you want to go.

It is the same when setting up a small group ministry. It is of utmost importance to decide why you are building a small group ministry. What is your end in mind? Your destination. What are you trying to achieve? This questions needs to be answered succinctly and I strongly suggest that the question needs to be asked in the light of the overall vision/mission of your faith community. (Your small group ministry should act as a vehicle to help achieve this core congregational mission.)

Once your destination is decided it must be communicated clearly and often so people are willing to jump on board.

2. One Bus network with many routes

Have you noticed that while there are many buses and various bus routes there is only one company? The name of the company and logo are painted on the side of the bus and everyone knows which company the bus belongs to.

A healthy small group ministry aims to replicate this principle. While each individual group is important and vital to the people who belong to it, every small group within your church is connected to all the others. A network of groups representing a larger entity, your church. It is important to set up your model to reflect this principle.


Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 10.54.52 AM


Are you a member of our Facebook Group? Benefits include connecting with other small group ministry leaders world-wide, sharing ideas, asking questions and receiving insightful resources! To join this amazing community, click HERE


3. Set pick up and drop off zones

Normally you cannot say to a bus driver just drop me off before the next intersection, or please stop at the corner of Smith and George street. The bus has pre-set pick up and drop off zones. Everybody knows this. Imagine the chaos if passengers could get on and off the bus wherever they wanted. It would take forever to reach your destination.

A vital question which needs to be asked when creating a small group ministry model is how and when will people join or change groups. Most small group ministry models have clarity around a strategy for launching new groups but often overlook the need for developing a system, structure and plan for the in-between times. How will you incorporate in your model, set entry/exit points for people to join/leave existing groups? How can this be communicated clearly so that chaos and frustration can be avoided?

4. Connection to the Home Depot

All the buses return to the depot. They are cleaned, filled with petrol, have their motors tuned and receive any upgrades they need. For the bus company to remain a healthy business the buses need to be maintained and cared for. They just can’t keep going indefinitely.

A small group ministry model also needs to incorporate regular times where groups and leaders are refuelled, retuned, challenged and cared for. These times are integral to the continued health of your small group ministry.


  • 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.

Have a question or an insight? Leave it below!

Upcoming Events


Feb 20-22: The LOBBY Gathering SoCal
Learn More


Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletter

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



Individual Registration – $209.00

Team of 2 Registration (price per person) – $199.00

Team of 3 or more Registration (price per person) – $189.00

*Registration ends on Nov 8th, 2021. Walk-in registrations are not available.