How to “ALIGN” Your Small Group Ministry to Your Church Vision

aligned small groups for churches

We all recognize the importance of our small group ministries within our church, but do we always remember that God actually built small group ministry into the very fabric of His church, two thousand years ago? In Acts 2:46, we see in the Bible that “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (NIV). If we read through the book of Acts and note the incredible rate at which the church was growing, one can argue that this particular verse may be the key to understanding how and why this was occurring. It is important for us to pause and observe here in Acts 2:46 that the earliest Christians not only came together for larger gatherings in the temple courts, but that they also gave equal importance to house-to-house meetings (or another way of saying it: Small Groups!).

From what the text is showing us, the foundations of the Lord’s church incorporated both of these activities, and neither of the two appear to have been given any more weight than the other. This principle still holds true even today, that if one of the two is given more preference than the other, an imbalance occurs and the church can lose its ability to spread the gospel effectively. Indeed, too much of an emphasis towards the temple court would not value relationship, while too much of an emphasis toward small groups would not value teaching and instruction. Both are necessary, and both make the faith of Christianity tangible, actionable, and intentional as they help us bless the kingdom of God. While a targeted approach to a specific ministry may spur some growth within that particular area, it is the balanced approach that gives us the greatest benefit and greatest positive impact for our communities.

By not being able to meet in our small groups for six (or more) months this year, we have in some ways been relationally starved through much of 2020. It is because of this that our churches are in need of the Acts 2:46 balance now, more than ever. With that said, this season may be a good opportunity to meet with your fellow leaders and reflect upon where your church is on the spectrum of emphasis towards temple courts versus doing ministry in small groups.

  1. Does your community heavily focus on one more than the other? If so, why?
  2. Do you feel that you are one church in multiple locations with two types of meetings to offer to new believers?  
  3. Do your group leaders feel the same about your answer to question 2?
  4. Does your small group ministry vision and mission reflect the answer to question 2?
  5. If the balance is leaning more to temple courts than house-to-house meetings, discuss ways with leadership to increase the house-to-house emphasis and/or to increase involvement within small groups (i.e. campaigns, sermon discussion groups, events where groups are created by randomly seating individuals at round tables, etc.)

This discussion of achieving an Acts 2:46 balance is just one of the many training topics covered in Small Group Network’s new small group ministry training course, “ALIGN,” a masterclass in leading and developing a small group ministry at your church. Taught by Saddleback Church’s Pastor of the Small Group Community Steve Gladen, this 8-session course will help you strengthen your small group ministry and give you actionable wisdom that can be used immediately. As a small group director at my own church, this course generated multiple breakthrough moments for me in helping me understand the next steps I needed to take for my church, and I’m confident that you will experience the same. If you have not had the opportunity to check out SGN’s “ALIGN” and you’d like to find out more information, you’ll be able to find more details here at this link.

Announcing our new online training course that features 7 total video session taught by Saddleback Church Online Pastor Jay Kranda, Downloadable notes & lesson discussion questions! Learn more by watching the free course introduction & enroll HERE!


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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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