How to G.R.O.W. your Small Group Ministry in the New Year

About 15 years ago I was attending a retreat, as I got talking to a fellow pastor she shared with me a very simple tool, a tool which I went on and used very successfully. I have utilised the formula personally when I have been feeling ‘stuck’ in a particular area of my life. I have used it proactively in my parenting, (especially during the teen years!). I have passed on the tool’s formula to other pastors who have been thrilled. And I know it has helped countless in different congregations I have served. 

As I have reflected on what to write in this blog I began to wonder if this tool might be useful in assisting small group point people in their role, especially as we face another year of serving God and his church. I decided that YES it could, (you may have heard of it before, which is great but it is always helpful to have a reminder!) so here is the GROW formula:-

G – What GOAL are you trying to achieve? For Small Group Point People (SGPP) it maybe something like; developing more groups for families, or recruiting some new leaders, or establishing a clearer ‘doorway’ for people to access groups. Write down specifically what your goal is.

R – What are the REALITIESof the present situation? Let’s pretend that your goal is to develop more small groups for families. One reality might be; families say they are too busy to join a group, another may be, the family’s pastor on your team is not on the same page as you in regard to small groups,another might be; evening groups disrupt the children’s bedtime routine, or another could be; we don’t have ‘family friendly’ curriculum…..etc. Take the time to list all the realities that you presently face in the light of your stated goal.

Grow in your leadership, strengthen your team & accelerate the health & growth of your small group ministry by attending one of our specialized training events in 2019!

– Now after considering the realities it is time to write up all the OPTIONS you can think of to deal with those realities. Once again using our pretend goal of developing more small groups for families, some of the options could be; to run a ‘one off’ 4-week family small group session on campus during a Saturday afternoon. Another option might be to speak with some other churches who run successful family small groups and learn from their approach. Your options list may also include; a heart to heart conversation with the family’s pastor so that you can workout a forward plan for family’s spiritual growth which could include small groups.

W– Once the options list is completed you then make a decision about WHATyou will do from the list. What action will you take? Chose one option from your list and go for it! Here is some advice about this action step: – make sure you communicate the step to others as a ‘trial’! This gives people opportunity to ‘opt’ in without a large commitment stake, but it also gives you opportunity to take time to review and reflect as to whether this might be the ‘best’ option. The great thing is that if the ‘trial’ is less than successful you have a whole list of other ‘options’ to try!

I would love to hear your story if you decide to use this GROW tool to ‘kickstart’ your 2019 season!


  • 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

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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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