Seven Myths About Small Groups

Although church sponsored small groups have been around for awhile, there are still misconceptions about what they are–or are not. With that in mind, here are seven popular myths that I hear about small groups.

1. Groups are for everyone–all of the time.

It’s okay for people to take breaks from group life occasionally. Even Jesus retreated from his small group from time-to-time. A semester system can give group members and leaders time to catch their breath in between studies.

2. Off-campus groups are more effective than on-campus.

Both approaches to groups have pluses and minuses. A church leader has to decide what the end goal for a group experience is, and then decide where that best takes place. It may actually be both.

3. Group leaders have to be fully trained before starting a group.

Some initial training is necessary, but most training will be more effective after the group starts and leaders begin to have their own real world examples. The church should consider providing ongoing, as-needed online training.

4. Small groups are not weird.

I can almost guarantee that for most people, attending a small group in someone’s home for the first time was a strange experience. It was for me, but then again, so was eating sushi. Make sure to set the expectations for a group experience at the beginning. A good groups connection event can help ease people into group life.

5. Small groups will solve everyone’s discipleship needs.

An ongoing small group of 8-12 believers is a great environment to begin a discipleship journey, but most people will need something smaller and more focused in order to continue that journey. A 3-1 or 4-1 same-sex “D-group” can offer better accountability and more open conversations.

6. There is a perfect small groups system.

Every church has its own DNA and approach to ministry. A wise small group pastor will take good practices from other churches and shape them to work in their context. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment. Every established practice once started with a crazy idea.

7. A good small group can exist without good food.

This one may just be about me.

 

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About the author

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes.