Two become One

Leaders often ask:
When is the right time to split a group?

A good question but better put: when should our group become two groups?

Practically if the room is over 3/4 full, new people won’t see attending as essential.
Attendance needs to matter!
Practically there is never a good time. Caring leaders, always keen to ensure everyone feels secure will tell you this:
“It’s not a good time for Bill and Mary to join another group, he is being made redundant.”
” John and Jean have thrived with us they shouldn’t move.”
” If Tom and Ann are asked to move they will stop attending all together.”

What’s missing? Vision!
People won’t move as its too uncomfortable for anything less than a cause.
Making one group two groups so others can belong is a cause – and a must.

Let me be totally honest with you, if any of these reasons above or others like them hit home with you, be very careful- are you building people into yourself or the vision?

So, take time. Envision the group over several weeks about the need and the opportunity, ask people in private then endorse their willingness in public, inspire people to follow suit, celebrate the Occasion strongly, keep a relationship between the groups and others as they emerge.

Someone moved on so you cold move in!


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Why do I know this?

Hi small group leaders,

I hope your doing really well!

We live in a world which appears to be moving faster than ever doesn’t it?

So much information enters our heads through meeting people, Facebook. Twitter, the Internet, the radio, T.V, magazines, texting, books and newspapers that very often, we don’t even know what we know!

We get so much info that we have learned to filter and ditch really fast, we don’t ( can’t) take
All of it in.

The downside is we can trash useful information unless we have a filter system which is trained to notice what we need to know, not just what we are curious to know.

I often say ” we only notice what we know” lots goes past us which was sent as a signal or a prompt to respond or pray. Did we catch it?

When it comes to family, church members and small group regulars, I have trained my self to STOP and ask this question: ” Why do I know this?”

” John wasn’t at church this past weekend” ( why do I know this?) = check John is ok
” Mary is 40 next week” ( why do I know this?) = ensure the group marks it well
” I don’t have a bible” ( why do I know this?) = help them pick a good one, show them how to use it.
” I struggle to pray” ( why do I know this) = offer someone to help grow them in prayer

Now is always a good time to act or delegate action based on what you know.
Think about some of the the things you know about your group already

Someone is facing redundancy
Someone has not been baptised yet
Someone always looks preoccupied
Someone is showing great hunger for the word of God
Someone comes alive when we worship and praise
Someone is always on the edges of the discussion
Someone has to get three buses

You get the idea, whatever you know, ask yourself every time:

” Why do I know this?”


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Doing life between meetings

Hi Everyone,

This weeks question: how much should I be in touch with group members between the formal moments.

First a point about communicating: you can use text / email to enhance a relationship but you can’t use it to get one started or keep one healthy just with these methods.

We need to talk and we need to be able to see each other!

The quickest way to get the job done is give it the time it requires first time round.
We encourage all our small group leaders to enjoy at least one home visit with a group member each week, and just keep it rolling. Who you choose is based on where families / people are at. Some you will see more than others.

We find people give more head space to simple opportunities to build relationship than they do actually doing them. For example a home visit need only take 30 minutes and should always include some prayer and discussion around the families faith journey. As you get to know people you journey deeper together.

Here is another thought: your group members want you to be warm and friendly, but they probably have enough friends already- what they are short of is leaders who make space for them in their lives for spiritual growth purposes. They NEED you to ask the questions no one else will ask and they need you to help them go forward in their maturity like no one else will.

This is where for us our discipleship checklist helps out:
Growing nearer, growing deeper, growing outward growing forward.
We will look at these in depth as weeks go by.

Leader you are called to lead! Not manage, supervise, organise or chaperone: lead and let God give you the courage to do so.

Psalm 27:23 : ” Know well the condition of your flocks and pay attention to your herds.”


Are you up for that? It takes courage.

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The small group leaders priorities (1)

Hi everyone,
Thanks for checking in again this week.

How often do you pray for your small group members?
How often do you reflect and ponder on how far they have come and where they are going?

Prayer works and using your imagination is a great way to assist your prayer.

Our small group leaders are made up of people from every walk of life and every corner of the globe…

Former alcoholics work with those who enjoy a glass of wine.
The single lead marrieds and vice versa
Former or current asylum seekers passionate about Jesus
Academics alongside those who never finished school
Second time married people.
Business people
People healed of mental illness or life controlling issues
Stay at home mums and working mums

I could go on!
Regardless of where they come from a leader who understands the gospel of grace AND Prays something about it is a leader people grow beside.

Take a look at your group members in your minds eye today…what do you see?

Jeremiah 1:11 ” the word of The Lord came to me: what do you see?”

As you pray and exhibit Godly leadership your folks are growing! Make sure you are up to speed of where they are today and keep praying them towards Gods best.

Someone did it for you!


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Tues: Small Grp Leaders Day: What does participation look like?

It’s a common enough question…
Sometimes dressed up as:
How do I get people to attend?
How do I get people to speak out?
How do I get people to engage?

One of our slogans is: ” Everyone Participates, No one Dominates!”

What does that look like?
Short answer: deliberate involvement after careful planning.

For example, never ever as a leader do everything for the group yourself, we’ve seen it all to often
( haven’t we?) …

You remind everyone group is this evening
You pick up those without transport
You clean the house to make it welcoming
You prepare refreshments
You pick up a cake for Mary’s birthday
You open in prayer
You read announcements
You direct the discussion and study
You lead communion
You move in spiritual gifts
You close in prayer
You drop everyone off
You tidy up
You check on those who never made it
You visit members and new connections around group

= Exhausted leader + group spectators not participators!

The solution is a word which requires some bravery – Delegation ( Everyone participates)

At the end of your small group with next week in mind: Give EVERYONE one of these roles to play the next time the group will meet…and keep it going until everyone participates.

Keep some roles free for those who never made it along and ask whoever will follow them up to give them their role for the next group.

It works!

We give our precious time to things which have a purpose for us and a part which we can play.

Hint: keep a note of which roles were assigned to whom and share them around, mix them up. (don’t worry about those who can’t do certain things well, we can cope with that now and again)

What have you done by default?
If I get a regular opportunity to fulfil every small part that makes up the whole you have…
Built everyone up.
Ensured we function as a family community
Once the roles have been round a few times you have trained up potential leaders in every area of group leading, well done!

So, where will the next new group birthed from yours be :)


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From now Tuesday is small group leaders Q&A day

Every Tuesday my blog is specifically for those leading small groups.

 The blog will discuss questions sent in by current or aspiring small group leaders.

 None of our answers are original J

 Questions like:

 How do I get people to attend regularly?

How do I train up a deputy leader?

How much of the responsibility can I delegate?

How do I approach group members on sensitive issues?

How do I manage the serial talker?

Who is priority? New believer? Growing believer? Drifting believer? Crisis believer?

How do I stay passionate about leading?

(What’s your question?)


At we call our small groups: G.R.O.W.T.H Groups with Romans 14:19 in mind: “So, let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony among us and on the growth of our fellowship together.”


G.R.O.W.TH =








We are not experts on this but we have read studied and practiced a lot!

(And the number of small groups we have has doubled in the last few years so we have made some hilarious (and some serious) blunders.


We commit ourselves to growing in at least four ways:

Growing Nearer

Growing Deeper

Growing Outward

Growing Forward


We will explain these as we go from week to week.


Some of the advice will be so obvious a baby could have thought of it – but it’s amazing how often we don’t actually do what we know to do.


What is interesting is that the small group leaders who practice the principles in our small group manual, who follow the guide in our weekly email and attend our training times, generally lead very strong healthy and growing groups of people.


So! introduction over.

The blog will have a lot more activity on it other days as well, but small group leaders, Tuesday is your day.

What’s your question? Send them to


Look forward to chatting to you,








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Goldfish and Elephants

Goldfish and Elephants

I read in a Saturday supplement the other day that scientists have proved that what we believe about these two very different creatures may not be true:

Apparently elephants can forget and goldfish do remember.
Don’t ask me how we know!

Humans of course, have the capacity to do both. Has it ever occurred to you that you could decide what to remember and choose what to forget? For most of us we let our subconscious decide – and then play Russian roulette with how we feel or what we think on a roller coaster of inconsistency from day to day.

And sometimes we forget what we really need to remember and remember too vividly what we would be best served by forgetting.

I meet with people who feel isolated, devoid of opportunities for friendship and relationship ( Christians might say fellowship) and I explore their memory with them and they begin to recall: the party they didn’t go to, the drinks they declined, the social they never attended, the invite they never r.s.v.p’d
And they remember what they had forgot.

Then I meet someone who feels let down, that they have had a trust betrayed, that a friend shared a confidence, that a partner let them down.
So we go trawling and we discover – this has never happened before, this friend is usually a soul of discretion, that their partner is usually reliable, human but reliable. And they recall what they forgot, maybe even realising their own inconsistencies are the same or even worse than those they do life with.

What do you need to remember?
What could you benefit from forgetting?

Some things are so deeply entrenched remembering or forgetting will require some help but most you can decide today and move forward.

I have a friend who comes to Church – or a small group – or a social event – or a conference: but always after a bit of persuasion. His countenance at the end of the evening is always glowing, he thanks everyone for being so kind and hospitable, he buzzes about the event for a day or two afterwards – then, doesn’t come to the next one. Too busy, bad timing, something else on – in other words he forgets – so i remind him and he remembers and he comes and he glows and he buzzes – and then he forgets again! so i remind him, so he comes and he glows…. and you know how it goes.

What do you need to remind others about?
What could you encourage them to forget?

When it comes to negatives and your an elephant with unlimited hard drive space, deal with it and make like a goldfish.

when it comes to positives and your a goldfish, impersonate an elephant, remember it in your diary, journal, Facebook or twitter – so you can see it when you forget.

Someone once told a goldfish he would never amount to anything in life. trouble is he forgot.
Someone once told an elephant he was strong and brave and divinely designed; even in troubled times, he always remembered.

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