Welcome to the Starting a Small Group page
Here we aim initially to give you some background on how small church groups operate, and then to point you to advice on the practicalities.
If you already have established a group, you can always use the information here to refresh your memory, or you may prefer to read our Developing my Group page instead.
Starting a small group can initially appear to be a daunting task. However, with the right advice and resources the task can be made much easier.
Below we summarise the main areas that you should be considered when initially setting up a small group. We then direct you to more detailed information and helpful resources for each individual area.
Holistic Small groups with a missional heartbeat
There are any number of types of small groups found in churches. Groups are driven by beliefs and values. These are often unseen and unspoken but they exist behind every small group.
That is why when starting a small group, we suggest that you look at our small group values and see if they resonate with what you have in mind. This area is often overlooked which can mean that small groups do not always turn out as anticipated.
There have been all sorts of shapes and sizes of small groups offering different opportunities to church members: Care groups, Bible study groups, Evangelism groups, Discipleship groups and so the list goes on.
Our approach has been to encourage what we call ‘holistic small groups with a missional heartbeat’. Read more…
Small Group Values
So we are thinking that our beliefs shape our values and our values shape our actions and behaviour. It is, therefore important when joining a group to understand the values that might be drawn from the beliefs already described.
Phil Potter, in his excellent book ‘The Challenge of Cell Church’ lays out five values which many groups and churches have embraced. The strength of this particular idea is that, even if the groups across the church meet at different times, in different places and perhaps embrace different formats, there is a similarity if they have all adopted the same values. Phil uses a simple device of A B C D E to describe these values, namely:
A is for all involved
B is for becoming disciples
C is for creating community
D is for doing evangelism
E is for encountering God
We feel these are the typical values a group should hold and they form the foundation of our small group structures. Read more…
The Numbers Question
Small groups not only give opportunity for us all to contribute but, in groups which embrace the fullness of the Great Commission, there is opportunity and encouragement for each person to become active in how they can be part of God’s purpose in the world throughout their week, where they live and where they work.
One aspect that significantly affects this is to do with the size of the group. Read more…
Leadership Style and Encouraging Participation
Small groups often form around the strengths and desires of whoever is leading them, they serve the leader’s gifting and the leader’s gifting serves the group. This is fine in many respects and is one of the great privileges that leaders have of creating environments that they enjoy working in.
However there are often a limited number of leaders available which limits the numbers of groups that you can have and where the leader does most of the speaking in a group then the space for participation becomes limited.
With these two factors in mind we need to find a style of leadership that enables a broad variety of people to lead a group successfully and enables participation. Read more…
It is sometimes hard to see what role a small group can play when it comes to mission and outreach. There is no doubt that the culture around the UK today is looking to see the reality of how our Christian faith makes a difference in everyday life. People are generally less interested in proving that Christianity is true and more concerned about how it can make a difference in a positive and practical sense.
For this to be seen members of our churches need to be helped to talk about and live these realities out. This is where small groups can have a real part to play. Here are some ways that this could come about and the part a small group could play in it. Read more…
Each of the detailed pages referenced above gives information on helpful resources relating to that specific subject.
Please browse our shop for more resources.