Episode 179: Forging Fellowship: The Time-Tested Guide to Sustainable Small Groups

In this episode, we’ll explore how to empower your leaders to forge lasting fellowship in their small groups. You’ll find several key principles to build sustainable small groups that become anchors for your church.

Show Notes:

  • This resource, Group Leader Training was birthed out of Adam’s ministry in his church. It has now been used in hundreds of groups and impacted around 15,000 people who attend small groups.
  • Build your training so that group leaders are participating and bringing part of themselves into the training. They aren’t just there to learn but to offer their own perspective and insight, to rub off on each other.
  • When recruiting people to lead a small group, ask them, “Would you explore the potential call to be a small group leader? Go through this training and discern if this is what God is calling you to.”
  • Retention of volunteers and leaders begins with the recruiting and onboarding process. If they have a good or bad experience while being onboarded into a role, that will have a massive impact on whether or not they remain in that role long-term. Have a clearly committed job description with details about what they are expected to do, how long it will take, etc.
  • When you ask a group leader or participant what the purpose of a small group is, then ask the same thing of staff and pastors, there is often a massive divide.
    • Leaders and participants often said things like transparency, vulnerability, trust, love, and care. An emphasis on support and sustaining.
    • Pastors and staff often said things like repentance, grace, admonishment, and growth.
  • Small group leaders and participants need to have a clear picture of what strong, biblical community really looks like.
  • If all the relationships in the small group flow through the group leader, that’s not fellowship, it’s a fan club. One of the primary markers of a healthy community is when people are connecting outside of the designated group time (e.g., going to the park, meeting up for dinner, etc.)
  • It’s important for group leaders and attendees to realize that community isn’t found, it’s forged. It takes work and sacrifice over time. You have to invest.
  • It can be helpful to launch a group with a duo of group leaders. They can help lead the discussion and cover for each other when there is busyness or someone gets sick.
  • Most recruiting is “needs-based” in the sense that they are focused on what we need and how many more people we need to recruit. Instead, we should be focused on the person and how they will be blessed by and used by God in the ministry we’re inviting them to.
  • Connect with Adam Erlichman: https://www.buildgroups.net/Group Leader Training bookThe Build Groups Podcast
  • Connect with Brandon Collins: brandoncollins.orgbrandon.collins@ministryarchitects.com
  • Connect with Renee Wilson: renee.wilson@ministryarchitects.com