The Risk of Small Groups

Lead Small

I’ve recently been reading through Lead Small, by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas. Lead Small is unique in that it is written for the small group leader. It walks the reader through 5 big ideas that every small group leader needs to know. I recommend it, and recommend the conversations that come from it with our small group leaders!

I believe that kids and students need relationships to grow spiritually, and I’ve worked hard everywhere I’ve ever served to create a system that breeds leaders leaning into kids through relationships. I could insert story after story after story here of how God has fully changed a students life through a small group leader. I sit in meetings every Monday morning, and listen to stories of small group wins pour in from every family ministry area of our church. I believe it works, and I believe it enough to prioritize it for all 3 of my kids (not to mention my own community group.)

But small groups do present one very big risk. This risk is oftentimes the very reason that churches don’t do small groups. In fact, I’ll be bold enough to say that 99 times out of 100 this is the ONE reason churches don’t do small groups for kids and students.

When it’s bad it’s really bad. When it’s bad it keeps people away, and that’s not the goal!  The weirdest part of all is that it can be bad even when there is a fantastic group happening right next door.  

Look at the numbers on this. With no small groups, I have to concentrate in ONE area. I have to make this one 60 or 90 minute event as influential as possible, and many out there do a great job at this. Sure, there are many facets to this one area, but down to it’s core it is ONE event in ONE moment with ONE big impact.

Now there are a  million  different ways to get kids and students into smaller groups (I’m speaking in very general terms), but when you commit to small groups you are taking that one impact opportunity and you are turning it into 10 or 20 or 30 different areas where things could go right or wrong.

In a way our greatest strength becomes our greatest weakness. Our 3rd grade boys group is totally hitting it out of the park, and the leader is way more than awesome…but our 8th grade girls group is struggling to get any momentum, with spotty attendance and no teenagers willing to invite anyone to this terrible experience. It’s a risk, and I can tell you from experience that the danger is always there. There will always be some frustrations and struggles, but the wins are more than worth it.

What do you think keeps churches and leaders from  committing  to a true small group experience for their kids and students?


Another Friday Bag

The Friday Bag

The 50 free apps we’re most thankful for –Here, we’ve taken your votes (and added a few of our own) and ranked our 50 apps using those votes as a guide. So without further ado, here are 50 free apps for your downloading feast.”  I use many of these free apps, but I promise that I do NOT have all 50 installed currently. I think.

7 Reasons You Should Give a Talk without Notes – Carey Nieuhof tells us what most of us already know. We are better speakers when we speak from passion, and don’t have to look down to find our next point.

7 Unusual Things Great Bosses Do –Great bosses do these things. The rest don’t–because these simple gestures would never occur to them.”  Attention bosses out there…read this!

And now I give you the single creepiest piece of advertising I’ve ever seen in my entire life. You are most welcome.

Friday Bag #17

The Friday Bag

50 Dangerous things (You should let your kids do!) –  “In a time when children are too often coddled,  50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)  reminds readers that climbing trees is good for the soul, and that a pocket knife is not a weapon. Full of exciting ways children can explore the world around them, this book explains how to “Play with Fire” and “Taste Electricity” while learning about safety. With easy-to-follow instructions, it includes:  Activities, like walking a tightrope;  Skills, like throwing a spear;  Projects, like melting glass; and  Experiences, like sleeping in the wild.”

Engaging your Kids in Discussing their Day –   Fine.  Sometimes I wonder if that s the response that Adam got from Cain when he asked him throughout his life, So how was your day, son?

Visual Theology: One Another – This is one of my favorites of the series Tim Challies has done.

Here’s a video I did last year when I attended the Children’s Pastor Conference in San Diego (and also Orlando.) I will always have a special place in my heart for those that lead children, and there are few places as unique as CPC for training. learning, and encouragement.


“Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to this country and to mankind is to bring up a family.” -George Bernard Shaw

Caring for Your Introvert

I’d like to help you take care of the introverts in your life. We love you and want you in our lives and we need you to help us at times. Consider it a respect issue. We don’t need you to cater to us, but if you are an extrovert and you live with an introvert, or work with an introvert, or your friend is an introvert; then you could learn a little something from these resources:

Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

The Inside Scoop on your Introvert Friends

Losing friends can be particularly difficult for introverts because we don’t surround ourselves with people. We prefer a few intimate friends to lots of less-intense friendships, and deep discussion with one person to a party full of festive chitchat. For us, losing one good friend can leave a larger hole in our lives than it might for an  extrovert  with 25 best friends.

Understand Your Introvert

So let s take a look at some insight that will help you understand and relate to your introverted lover, friend, child or employee.

  • Enough with the guilt
  • Space and understanding
  • Build trust
  • 2 to Tango
  • True communication

And finally, I love this short list of ways to care for your Introvert: