Small Groups, the secret by Bill Easum (2004)

A question from one of our small groups

Would you please elaborate on what you see as the key to effective small groups? What will help them keep from being as ineffective as Sunday school often is, except that they occur at another time or day of the week?

Response From Bill Easum

Unfortunately most small groups don’t work either for the same reason that SS doesn’t work most places- people think the small group is the goal. It isn’t, multiplying the small group is the goal.  So what keeps it effective is embedding in the leaders of the small groups that the group isn’t the final goal – birthing a new small group is the goal. So that the primary role of the leader is to raise up an apprentice who will take over in time allowing the small group leader to and one or two others to go off and start another small group.

We gave our small group leaders 10 hours of training on just this issue, multiplication is the goal of all Christianity.  This does not mean that fellowship, sharing, and personal growth weren’t important. they were, but the focus of that growth was inviting others into the group and expanding the Kingdom rather than doing a small group ministry.

That’s why churches who start small group ministries with lots of small groups at the beginning usually wind up with very few small groups two years later.  the emphasis was on having a lot of small groups rather than creating an environment and system for the continual birthing of small groups.
So with small group systems that begin right and work well, the big worry is that the day will come with the emphasis is on the maintenance of the small group system rather than raising up small group leaders who know how to birth small groups.

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