Doubling Your Small Groups — a Worthy Goal

“If you wish to build a ship, do not divide the men into teams and send them to the forest to cut wood. Instead, teach them to long for the vast and endless sea.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

We can reach our nation for God with an army of small group leaders like you who long to see a doubling group movement.

We can reach our nation for Christ.

We can reach America with an army of small group leaders like you who have a vision for doubling their groups every two years or less. We can do it. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We can be obedient to what God told us to do. I want to do that, don’t you?

Think of it. There are approximately 320,000 churches in America. There are approximately 24 million people attending church on any given weekend and a little over 2 million group leaders. Suppose half, or a fourth, or even a tenth of the group leaders in America committed to doubling their groups 10 times in the next 20 years. Suppose, like Gideon’s army, we had only 25,000 group leaders from various denominations and churches on board. If each one doubled every two years or less, we would reach America in a little past 20 years.

           Years              Groups People

                                   25,000                  250,000

           2                      50,000                  500,000

           4                       100,000               1,000,000

           6                       200,000               2,000,000

           8                       400,000               4,000,000

           10                     800,000               8,000,000

           12                    1,600,000            16,000,000

           14                    3,200,000            32,000,000

           16                    6,400,000            64,000,000

           18                    12,800,000         128,000,000

           20                    25,600,000         256,000,000

I think God would be pleased if we would do that. But it would be nothing special. We would only be doing what God told us to do. Luke 17:10 reminds us that this is no big deal: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” I hate to think what God would say if we didn’t do what he told us to do!

Giving the ministry to people who are using their gifts to grow their groups will get the job done. It is a way to obey the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). In fact, it is the bread-and-butter strategy for reaching a lost world.

Often, we do big projects in our churches. We have programs and concerts and mission trips. We build big buildings, hold huge meetings, and have spectacular Easter celebrations. All good.

It is easy enough when we do these things to lose sight of the importance of the basics. We are mesmerized by watching the home run sail over center field and forget the basics of the routine ground ball. Small group work is the basics of the routine ground ball. Most of what it means to be a church happens best in small groups. Teaching, caring, sharing, reaching, loving, admonishing and helping happens best in small groups. All these other things are good, but we should never lose our focus on the basics.

We may do all kinds of supplemental things to help us to grow, but it is the work of the small group leader that is foundational to long term growth. Consistently and quietly, growing, reaching, teaching, assimilating, fellowshipping, loving and doing what God tells us to do—this is the bread and butter of our ongoing strategy.

Perhaps the goal of reaching America in 20 years is a little hard for you to wrap your brain around. Three hundred thirty million is a big number. Personalize it to your church or denomination. Southern Baptists have a little over 2 million in groups each week. If half of them would double every two years or less Southern Baptists alone would reach America in about 20 years

Think about your own church. Suppose you have 100 attending right now. How many people would you reach if each group doubled every two years or less? Fill in the following chart to find out.

 Example              Your Church Current attendance: 100

2 Years 200
4 Years 400
6 Years 800
8 Years 1600
10 Years 3200

The correct answer is in excess of three thousand. One hundred to three thousand in ten years. But, that is not the exciting part. The exciting part is the second ten years. Even if only half the groups in your church were successful, you would still experience phenomenal growth. Go ahead, play with the math if you are given to that kind of thing.

Doubling your group every two years is a worthy goal. It will result in phenomenal growth. It will result in obedience to the Great Commission.

If future articles, we will talk about the how. But for now, I want to invite you to pray about and long for seeing an army of group leaders living out 2 Timothy 2.2 (NIV): “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

Adapted from You Can Double Your Group in Two Years or Less


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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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