3 Steps to Build a Small Group Ministry with Roots


Small groups are the lifeblood of church communities. While big Sunday services might draw people in and introduce them to Jesus, small groups take discipleship to the next level. It’s within groups that people find meaningful friendships, experience spiritual development, and learn to put their faith into action seven days a week.

If your church doesn’t have small groups yet or is looking to revamp your existing small group ministry, here are some tips to help you build a movement that will serve your community for the long haul.

It’s widely agreed upon that small groups are important for the church. But why are they important for your church? When you understand your “why,” it becomes easier to share your vision with your church community and stay united on a shared purpose. To discover you “why,” gather up your staff and brainstorm on these questions:

  • – Why do you want a small group ministry at your church? Then ask “why” to the answer you give. You can repeat this multiple times to get to the deepest, truest “why”.
  • – What purpose will small groups serve in your church? What value will they add?
  • – How will a small group ministry help further the kingdom of God in your community?

2) Find and Train Your Leaders

Small groups require delegation; you as the lead pastor can’t meet the needs of every single group. Ask leaders in your church if they’d pray about the possibility of leading a group. Think about the different types of people in your congregation— age, stage of life, relationship status, race, gender— and look for leaders that could represent the diversity of your church.

Before releasing your new leaders out into the wild, provide them training to best equip them to handle the responsibilities of leading a group. This training should cover more than just how to choose and lead a book study, but also how to shepherd and build community, facilitate safe and meaningful conversations, and when to enlist help for deeper needs they can’t handle on their own.

If you’re looking for trusted training, explore Group Leaders by NorthPoint Church. Group Leaders offers multiple different training courses for leaders, whether new or veteran, as well as free resources, books, and more to help train and nurture your small group leaders.

3) Promote and Launch

Now that you and your leaders are all set, it’s time to launch. Of course, a successful launch requires more than just an announcement on Sunday or a mass email.

When it comes to launching, you’ll want to create a plan that lasts at least a few weeks before the actual launch and gets your congregation ready for and excited about joining a group. The best way to do this is to expose them to groups over time in different ways. Cover all your communication outlets with info about groups– announcements on Sunday, email, social media, your website, your bulletins, etc.

You could even lead up your official launch with a series on the importance of groups and host events where people can get to know different leaders, different studies, and more about what to expect. Vision is catching, so always lead with your “why” when you share about groups and always give people a way to learn more or sign up when you share about groups. By the time you officially launch, your congregation will be primed and excited to join their very own group.

Take time to pray about your new small groups and to align with God’s vision for your new small group ministry. Building up groups doesn’t happen overnight, and even once you’ve launched, they require attention, development, and prayer. So don’t hesitate— get started today and find your “why”.

Emma Tarp, Author

About the Author

Emma Tarp is a writer and worship leader based in Minneapolis, MN. On her best days, she's highlighter-deep in a good book or teaching herself to sew. On her other best days, she's helping passionate folks and inspired businesses put words to their work. Find out more at emmatarp.com.

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