Although my day job is leading the high school ministry at my church, believe it or not I do sometimes get to talk to and even worship with adults. We are a church of small groups. We call them grace groups and I get to lead one. I thought I would share the top ten things I have learned leading a Grace (small) group over the last 4 years.

  1. Aim to meet every week-I don’t mean to speak down to different philosophies but I am a big fan of meeting often. I know groups who meet every 2 weeks and when you miss one you go 29 days without seeing the people you are supposed to be sharing life with.
  2. Do fun stuff together-Our group meets for a study 3 out of 4 weeks in a month, but for the 4th week we try to get everyone to go on a double date or we have a guys/girls night.
  3. Shake up the norm-We have done communion together, we have had thanksgiving dinner, we have even had thanksgiving communion dinner together!
  4. Over-communicate-My groups always get an email on Tuesday that says our vision in the first line and names the schedule ahead plus prayer requests, our covenant, and everyone’s contact info.
  5. Want to grow your group? Invite people to it-Last week as we started our new group we had half the couples in the room share how they came to the group simply from someone finding them on a Sunday morning in a service when they were new to the church and saying “are you in a grace group yet?
  6. Share life together-We are committed to stopping by each other’s house, going shopping together, and having each other over for dinner all throughout the week. We don’t just fill in the blanks for workbooks together.
  7. Make sure you know each other’s needs…rather than just saying you will meet them-America is private so it is often hard to even know the needs of others in a culture where they are not obvious.  We try to develop a culture where we are being vulnerable and transparent enough to share needs. Sometimes it is a babysitter for a date night and other times it has been the laying of hands on someone for a new job.
  8. The small group model is a great way to develop leaders-Not only do our groups have a co-leader (so we have multiplication in our DNA) but small groups are a great way to involve and give leadership to people from hosting, leading a prayer time, leading a study, leading worship and all kinds of other stuff.
  9. Don’t avoid confrontation-As you share life, accountability, prayer requests and dinner conversations with people you will know their best and their worst. If someone needs gently confronted don’t avoid it. I have done this as a people pleaser, but the most loving thing you can do is help someone be more life Christ, even if it means an uncomfortable conversation.
  10. New groups=new people-In the last 2 years I have been in 3 groups total. Our original group has multiplied twice . It isn’t rocket science, I have never seen a new group start and not fill up. New groups are a magnet for new people who see a spot for themselves.


  1. Sweet stuff.
    My mentor is a small groups pastor at Grace Church Bath Campus. He swears by small groups, and I am beginning to be convinced of them myself.
    One author I recently read said that small groups should not just be another “add-on” but they need to be the DNA that makes up the Church. If anything, he says, is an “add on” it should be the worship service.

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