Group Culture: Defining the Win

Building the healthy small group culture we have today wasn’t rocket science, but it wasn’t completely obvious either. I’d like to say that we knew exactly what we were doing every step of the way, but that wouldn’t exactly be true. Things would happen that we didn’t expect and we would adjust the process. More often than not, our biggest obstacle in building something better was the human element. Go figure, right? It was often behavioral and engrained mindsets that we often didn’t anticipate. Regardless, we adjusted and pushed through. Our success truly did revolve around these three pivot...

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Group Culture: Shifting Perspectives

Small groups is actually a thing (10-15 year ago, not nearly as much). Most of the curriculum you could buy for your ministry assumes that you’re already doing small groups. At least they provide questions and resources for small group time. Doing small group and having a small group culture, are in fact, two different things. Many churches offer small groups each and every week, but few churches have thriving groups because of a relational culture that was intentionally cultivated. Our transition to a healthy small group culture revolved around three specific pivot points: Know the Bullseye Shifting Perspectives Defining...

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Group Culture: Know the Bullseye

Building a healthy Small Group culture is quite the undertaking. It was a journey that took much longer than I anticipated. Although we haven’t yet “arrived,” we have managed to build a thriving culture for small groups. Looking back on the process, I can clearly see three specific pivot points that were crucial to the transition. If I was helping you transition your ministry where small groups were central to success, I’d walk you through these very same pivot points. Know the Bullseye Shifting Perspectives Defining the Win For this post, let’s take a look at the first pivot...

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Building Healthy Small Group Culture

A few years ago my parents came to visit for the holidays. Feeling nostalgic, I decided to pull out a “family fun activity” that brought back childhood holiday memories – the classic 1000 piece puzzle. Convinced that everyone would be as excited as I was, I staked my claim to the kitchen table and dumped out all 1000 pieces of this Thomas Kincaid-like puzzle. I set the box top on the corner to serve as our guide and got to work. My parents were amused. I toiled over the puzzle for hours while they’d graciously stop by for a...

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The Missing Pieces

Show me a healthy substitute list and I’ll show you a healthy small group ministry. The two go hand in hand. Here’s the scenario that plays out almost every week at churches everywhere. You cast a vision for a small group ministry and recruit amazing small group leaders. Okay, you have some amazing small group leaders, some good small group leaders and who are good when they show up. That’s a different blog post altogether. Regardless, you have small group leaders who don’t show up. Some get sick. Some are out of town. Some went to the lake and...

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Take Back Saturdays

Let’s be honest. If you lead a ministry on Sunday, Saturday’s suck. Not a Saturday night goes by that I don’t dread my phone and email. It’s only a matter of time. The texts will come in. The phone will ring. Emails will hit the inbox. I’m sick I forgot to tell you that I was on vacation I didn’t realize that I was on the schedule Didn’t I tell you that I couldn’t serve anymore? Yep, Saturday’s suck. Didn’t you know that Saturday is “volunteer back out day?” What’s interesting is how many ministry leaders are surprised by...

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How Small Groups Help Large Group

The move to the large group/small gorup model has been a challenge. This was a significant change. For the longest time, ministries would program 60-90 minutes of large group. This was no easy task as keeping a group of kids engaged for that long required creativity and skill. Over time, certain segments developed and became a part of the weekend experience. Adding small groups to the weekend experience was a huge change. This meant adding a new 30-40 minute element to the weekend experience that hadn’t ever been done on the weekend experience. This meant discarding 30-40 minutes of what...

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How Large Group Can Distract from Small Groups

I became the Children’s Pastor at Life Austin a couple of years ago. On my very first Sunday, I was encouraged to find that the main leader of the kid’s ministry was an excellent communicator. He could assemble a great lesson, and he was always very smooth with his delivery. It was excellent, but there was a problem. He was doing it all by myself. He spoke for 50 minutes. He knew that he was a skilled communicator, so he spoke. And he spoke and he spoke and he spoke some more.  It only took me about 20 minutes to...

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How Large Group Can Support Small Groups

In most children’s ministries, large group and small group tend to be at odds with each other. Sometimes there is conflict between these two pieces of the weekend experience. In order for a healthy small group ministry to develop and thrive, this conflict must be resolved. Large group and small groups are equally important. When they both exist, the allow something to happen that is better than if just one or the other happened. However, these two components of the weekend can more than just exist, they can also support each other. Below are several ways in which large group...

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Small Group Versus Large Group

There is a tension that exists in almost every children’s ministry, even if it isn’t felt by every volunteer. It’s a conflict between the Large Group program and Small Groups. When looking to build a healthy weekend-based small group ministry, you’re going to have to resolve this conflict. It occurs naturally, meaning it will develop unless you’re intentional at keeping it at bay. You’ll need to create an environment where Large Group and Small Group are collaborative and benefit each other’s primary goals. To understand how to resolve this conflict, it’s helpful to know why the conflict even exists,...

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