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 disciplemakingmovements.com.