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3 Assumptions Shaping Our New Small Group Approach

December 5, 2011

Assumption #1: People want to grow in their relationship w/Jesus Christ.

Assumption #2: People desire authentic relationships.

Small groups are great environments for spiritual growth and authentic relationships. If Assumptions #1 & #2 are true, why aren’t more people joining small groups?

Some people are convinced that joining a small group is too costly (too much time, too much commitment, too much unknown, too much risk, etc.).

To go from sitting in a church service to participating in an intimate Bible study at a stranger’s house is too big of a step for some. In fact, some view joining a small group as taking a leap.

There is one more critical assumption.

Assumption #3: People prefer steps over a leap.

Instead of trying to convince everyone to make this daunting leap, maybe we can create smaller steps leading to the same place. (Recently I wrote about the 3 building blocks of an effective step.)

With that in mind, our church is pioneering a new small group approach. In February, we are launching 3 different types of small groups: Access Groups, Basics Groups, and Community Groups. All of these new small groups will last 12 weeks. Here are the specifics:

Access: Similar-interest groups (Mountain-biking, Softball, Cooking, etc.) where the goal is building relationships. Target audience: People who’ve never tried a group because it’s too intimidating. (Group leader views group as a beginning step and mentors group members toward progression.)

Basics: A group to discover what Christianity is all about. Target Audience: Seekers, Starters, and Returners.

Community: A group where spiritual growth and community take place. Target Audience: This is the desired destination for everyone. Access and Basics Groups are bridges helping lead more people to Community Groups.

This approach is unique. Honestly, we may spend 2013 laughing at some of our 2012 group ideas. But we’re going to tackle this adventure with the goal of engaging more people into authentic relationships.

People want to grow in their relationship w/Jesus Christ.

People desire authentic relationships.

People prefer steps over a leap.

  1. Arlonne permalink

    Mark, I like this approach… Jack and I’ve lead all three types, and see the potential here! I can’t wait to see how God is going to deepen our church…

    • Thank you Arlonne! Ginger and I are grateful for the friendship and leadership that you and Jack provide.

  2. Terral Cline Hill permalink

    I look forward to the Basics group. Great idea. God definitely at work here. Thank you, Terral

    • That’s great Terral! I’m excited about the Basics Groups as well. Already to talked with some planning to jump in on these. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. I like your thinking on this. We are doing something similar, but focusing on B and C: We offer the alpha course for seekers, starters, and returners and small groups for everyone else. Hadn’t thought about the access groups though….sounds like an easy, non-intimidating first step for just about anyone.

    • Thanks Brian. I’ve heard great things about the Alpha material! We’re using the Starting Point material from North Point. I’ve borrowed much of the Access Group concept from @louielovoy who’s on staff North Point. North Point doesn’t use this approach but previously Louie was a group pastor at a church where he pioneered this approach exclusively and shared some amazing stories with me. We’re initiating a “year of adventure” approach to groups and thought this could create another bridge toward community groups. Thanks for your encouragement. Hope you’re doing well.

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