Small Groups in the Way of Chick-Fil-A

We should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.” – S. Truett Cathy (Chick-Fil-A Founder)

Infamously closed on Sundays so their employees can rest and worship, the faith-based fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has grown from one store in Atlanta 50 years ago to one of the largest family owned businesses in the U.S. with more than 2,100 restaurants spanning 46 states. Whether you are the small group point person or a small group leader in your church, I believe that you will begin to accelerate the overall health and growth of your small group ministry by following these 3 Chick-Fil-A principles.



Whatever you do, do well. Ecclesiastes 9:10

The capital “A” in Chick-Fil-A is on purpose – it stands for “grade A top quality.” By studying smart, lean manufacturing principles, Chick-fil-A has created new ways to serve their guests the freshest food possible. This is why they usually have long lines of cars wrapped around their buildings & a #1 rating on the American Customer Satisfaction Index. 

Application: As small group ministry leaders we get to serve up the greatest “products” that exist: the love and hope of Jesus, fellowship and a caring family to belong to. However, have you ever choked eating dry over-cooked chicken? Have you ever bitten into slimy-undercooked chicken?

Just as it takes a chef to season, cook & serve food in a way that people find delicious, so it takes a small group ministry leader who can introduce biblical community to people in fresh new ways that they will find palatable and satisfying. 

Questions to Consider: When people participate in our small groups or when leaders attend our training events, do they taste the quality ingredients of passion, prayer and preparation or does their experience taste dry, disorganized or old?



“Hospitality is about reaching out in service to others and using what we’ve been given to meet a need in their life.” – Trudy Cathy White (Chick-Fil-A Ambassador)

Chick-Fil-A made national news headlines a few months ago when an employee from a store in Virginia was caught on video chasing down a customer who had forgotten part of her order. The video clearly shows the employee running down the sidewalk, crossing a busy street and waiving down the customer just in the nick of time to hand deliver the tender chicken morsels – now that is what I call service that goes the extra mile!

It’s one thing to serve a quality product, but it’s a completely different thing to offer great customer service. To achieve longterm success, these two values must work in harmony. This is why you will almost always see Chick-Fil-A employees wearing smiles, answering with “my pleasure,” and serving with the attitude that the customer is always right!

Application: Just as important as how many new leaders we recruited or how many groups we launched, is the quality of care and service that we and our leaders offer. Great customer service must first be a value we personally own and model for the rest of our team.

Our actions show what we value.

Questions to Consider: Do our coaches, hosts and leaders feel appreciated? Have our small group leaders been trained how to create warm and safe environments for guests and how to lead dynamic and interactive small groups?



With a slogan of “EAT MOR CHIKIN” written by fearless cows who can’t spell, Chick-Fil-A has harnessed creativity and humor to make eating chicken fun and exciting. They even have a “Cow Appreciation” day where customers can dress up as cows to receive a free entrée!

Application: As Christian leaders our message never changes, but our methods and packaging may need too in order to effectively fulfill the great commission.

Part of serving a quality product is creative packaging.

Questions to Consider: As leaders, are we personally having fun leading ministry? Are we using creativity and leveraging humor, media and stories to make small groups inviting and engaging?  

The best kingdom outcomes require that we become intentional in our planning while depending continually on the Lord for wisdom – Steve Gladen (Planning Small Groups with Purpose)

Grow as a leader, strengthen your team & accelerate the health & growth of your small group ministry by attending one of our “Accelerate!” Small Group Workshops! For more info & to lock in EARLY BIRD RATES click HERE!


  • 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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