By Thom S. Rainer
Admittedly, I have not done a scientific study on how many churches in America intentionally start new groups. But my anecdotal observations are that only about one in 20 churches, or about 5 percent, have a semblance of new groups strategy in place. Those numbers are sad, because such a strategy can be used of God to revolutionize churches.
I don’t plan on this article being one and done on the subject. It’s too important. You will hear more in the near future.
What Is a Group?
Different groups serve different purposes. Some exist for fellowship. Others have an intense discipleship motive. Still others are designed to reach beyond themselves with an evangelistic intent.
They also go by a myriad of names. They are called Sunday school classes, small groups, home groups, cell groups, Bible study classes, and more.
My point in this article is not to differentiate the groups; that exercise can come later. My point is to show the incredible value of groups in general to a church, especially when there is an intentional strategy to reproduce them.
What Can New Groups Do for a Church?
It almost seems like starting new groups is some type of secret strategy. You rarely hear church leaders speak about it. But those who have implemented such a strategy wondered what took them so long to do so. The value of starting new groups is enormous.