What’s a “Win” for Your Small Group Leader? Part I

What’s a “win” for your Small Group Leader?

Most of us would answer: “discipleship” or “disciple-maker”. I would have answered that way,but the problem is that  those words often look like different things to different people, or may mean nothing at all.  I’ve noticed that I’ve needed to be more specific and paint a picture of what it would mean for us to be successful as a  Small Group Leader.

The semester based Small Group ministry that I currently lead was  developed three years ago.  It’s  been an adventure to innovate on a system so it aligns more and more to our Mission. An “adventure” firstly because that I see us the model more and more fitting in our context thus helping us move forward with our mission. Secondly,I enjoy the learning process with the prospect that it will actually help transform our church culture into an intentionally disciple-making one.

So while preparing to lead a new Leadership Huddle this Fall, I reflected on what it would look like if we were to succeed as small group leaders.  How will we know when we get there and most importantly, most importantly-where are we going?

One of the aspect of the Semester based system Group model that I have appreciated the most, is its emphasis on multiplying leaders rather than multiplying groups.  When I first started leading small group ministries, it was conventional wisdom that the leader would traumatize a group by splitting the members in it to form a new groups for the sake of creating more communities. The model that we base our  church’s small groups on is unpacked in the book Activate. It’s authors Searcy and Thomas essentially share that the more leaders we foster through our small groups, the more groups we’ll have. No need to split members. Enlist more leaders.

What’s the  short-term mark of success for our small group ministry?  Leaders.

When a group participant steps forward a the end of the Semester to lead a group of his or her own, then we’ll know that we have achieved a short-term win.

What about a long-term marker of success? Our Mission statement is: Transforming this Generation:Connect,Grow,Serve,Go. Our Small Group ministry falls under the Grow section of the statement. Grow indicates that transformation happens best within a community of believers.

After almost a year of listening to the stories emerging from communities within our church, several positive results came to the surface.  They all had to do with transformation. Our long-term win? Transformation.

I summarized what this “transformation” looks like through these four outcomes:

  • Friendship
  • Victory
  • Commitment
  • Purpose

Part II will unpack these four outcomes and explain how they relate to transformation and to our church’s mission.

Question/Reflection: Why is it important to define a “win” for our team? What would a “win” look like for you? Is it important that it aligns to your organization’s mission? Why or Why not?


5 Values of a Thriving Small Group

GROW Groups are a semester based approach to small groups inspired by the ministry of Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas! If you wonder what a healthy GROW Group might do or look like, check out the Pioneer Memorial Church’s values summarized by Pastor Vatel further below with her added scriptural references

The PMC Pastoral Team calls them “values” or the groups’ DNA because they are a description of the behaviors they’d like to see replicated within the ministries of the church.  These values are based on the Book of Acts,Chapter 2.

Definitely check out Searcy and Kerrick’s work to understand the basic HoPE small group’s philosophy and make it your own.

PMC 5 GROW Group Values

Bible- (Acts 2:42)

The GROW group’s foundation is on biblical principles. Even if the focus is not on an actual bible study, a faith component is embedded as part of the group life. Let us know of creative ways you might include “Bible” within your group.

Examples of how you might incorporate the Bible value within your meeting: Devotional thought, Scripture memorization or sharing stories of faith before, during or after the group activity.

Evangelism- (Acts 2:47)

The GROW group exists for those not yet part of it. Groups are encouraged to have a symbolic empty chair as a reminder to welcome someone who is not part of our church community.

If the empty chair principle does not apply for a group meeting, the members may choose to invite guests at a social gathering that they would organize outside or instead of their regular group meeting time.

Service- (Acts 2:44-45)

GROW Group participants plan and implement a service project that they have agreed to do together to positively impact their local community. The project will be scheduled by group consensus before the end of the Semester.

Social- (Acts 2:46)

The GROW group participants will throw a “party” outside of the group’s meeting time. It doesn’t always have to involve a lot of food. Getting together is for becoming even better acquainted with each other after meeting several times, and most importantly, for having fun.

Prayer- (Acts 2:42-43)

No matter the activity or the study, time is set aside for sharing prayer requests or reports and intercessory prayer with a reminder to pray for each other in between group meetings.


Have you been part of a Small Group?  Is there a system that has worked better for your church than others? If so-how has the experience change you,your home,your church or your community?