Small Group Resources

Thirty five years ago we needed money. I (Jim) had just finished seminary and was pastoring a small country church, part-time, and our third child had entered the family. I felt called to stay at the church but the savings I had accumulated before seminary were running out. What should I do? So I started writing small group curriculum to earn extra cash.

It never once entered my mind that I should or could become a small group expert. I just needed to pay the bills. But I was passionate about small groups and had a knack for writing.

Seven years later we left that country church and for 8 years my full-time ministry was serving as small group trainer and writer. During that time, I began asking, “What really makes the difference between stagnant and growing small groups?” And, “Why do small groups thrive in one church when they fail in a seemingly similar church?” So I entered a Ph.D. program and began doing extensive research to find answers.

During my doctoral program and in the years since, I have surveyed over 6,000 small group leaders in more than 20 nations and over 300 churches, probing different aspects of their group life and leadership. Clear answers have emerged—some very predictable and others quite surprising.

I have outlined the keys to small group health and growth in two books that I have co-authored, Small Groups, Big Impact and Groups that Thrive.

Out of that research and my own practical experiences as a group leader and pastor, Vicki and I have developed a lot of tools. Our desire is to make your leadership more effective and easier! So you will find free tools for small group leadership, coaching, and pastoring below.

The last few years the focus of our ministry has been resourcing the worldwide Disciple Making Movement (DMM). DMM takes the principles that make traditional home groups grow and moves them to a new level.

For example, traditional small group/cell group ministry decentralizes ministry by moving it out of church buildings into members’ homes. DMM, however, takes this principle further. It centers on moving the Good News of Jesus into the homes of seekers and new believers.

In other words, if your neighbor is interested in spiritual things or has just received Jesus into their lives, you do not invite them to come to the small group in your home, you offer to look at the Bible with them in their home with their family and friends.

In the past small group ministry led to healthier and faster growing churches because it multiplied ministry far beyond highly trained professionals, mobilizing countless new leaders. DMM takes things further inviting every in Christ’s body, even the newest follower of Jesus, to become a disciple maker in their own sphere of influence.

Most of my previous research and the tools we developed were within the framework of a “traditional” small group mindset. But the proven principles are still true. They just need to be brought into new alignments and applied in new ways to maximize the multiplication of disciples, leaders, and churches.

If you are looking for tools for your current group, I think you will find a lot of very useful insights and tools here. But I encourage you to also do some reading and be trained in DMM principles. You can find some resources on the pages of this site and I also encourage you to visit

Resources on Prayer, Communion, and Ministry

Resources on Reaching Out

Resources on Caring Relationships

Resources on Empowering Others

Resources on Discipleship

Resources on Leading Great Group Meetings

Resources for Discouraged or Struggling Small Group Leaders

Resources for Pastors, Small Group Point Leaders, and Coaches

Spanish Resources

Encounter God Retreat

These Encounter God Retreat materials were translated by a group working in Cuba. For a detailed instructors guide and other material in English visit:

Encounter God Powerpoints

Encounter God Spiritual freedom inventory

 Other Resources