20 Small Group Quotes by Rick Warren

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Pastor Rick Warren was this year’s keynote speaker at the “Lobby Gathering,” one of the nation’s premier small group training events. Enjoy his top 20 quotes relating to small group ministry.

“What the world needs more than anything else in our society today is the antidote to loneliness, and where are they going to get it? Small groups.”

“Small groups are not a ministry of the church, small groups are not a program of the church, small groups are not an outreach of the church, small groups are not an event of the church, small groups are the church.”

“Small groups are the purest expression of the church.”

“Once people are in a small group I stop worrying about them because I know their needs are going to be taken care of.”

“In small groups, small really is better.”

“You have to offer them something in a group they can’t get anywhere else.”

“Small groups are not a program of the church, they are the church – it’s where koinonia takes place.”

“I’m preaching this constantly, ‘You’ve got to be in a group. You’re not really a part of this church unless you are in a group.’ And that’s how we have more people in small groups than actually come on Sunday morning.”

“Bring them in, build them up, teach them how, send them out – small groups play an integral part in disciple building.” 

“I pastor a church of missionaries, and it all started with the concept of building small groups.”

“The New Testament model for a healthy church is large group worship and small group fellowship.”

“Every small group must have all five purposes in it. It must worship, it must fellowship, it must disciple, it must minister and it must do outreach.”

“Leadership is not about numbers, it’s not about goals, it’s not about programs, it’s about love. If you love people, they will follow you anywhere.”

“I think more people are going to be brought to Christ through the relationships in small groups than any front door evangelism in the next 15-20 years.”

“Only in authentic community can you have authentic love, and that’s why the value of small groups is so important.” 

“Set a big goal for how many new groups you want to start. Add a zero. If you have 30 groups get 300, if you have 50 groups get 500.”

“The way you grow small groups is not one at a time every week, but it’s by doing these campaigns… it’s the secret sauce of Saddleback church.”

“People join a group for content and stay for relationships.” 

“What you call your small group leaders makes all the difference in the world.”

“Don’t just make believers, make belongers.”

Watch Pastor Rick Warren’s complete session on small groups and the coming societal trends below.


  • Derek Olson

    Derek loves espresso, the outdoors and is passionate about building biblical community! He has been active in small group ministry since 2004 & is honored to serve as Pastor of Small Group Network Development at Saddleback Church.

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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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