Archive for October, 2016

start-small-groupWhat is the best way to be part of a small group?


CREATE your small group.


I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t want to start a group, I want to join a group.” I totally understand that. Starting a group sounds incredibly challenging, scary and a lot of work. It can be sometimes. But we have found that when you start a group with your friends, the group tends to be stay together longer. And starting a group is not as difficult as you may think it is. Here are four simple steps to start building community and friendships.

1) Invite two of your friends

You can’t have a group unless you have people. Who are two or three friends, family members, neighbors, church members or coworkers that you can invite to start a small group? You don’t need ten people. You just need one or two other people to start doing life together. You may feel that no one wants to join your group, but maybe your friends are just waiting for someone to ask them. Sometimes it takes one person to initiate and invite to get the small group started.

2) Choose a place and time

There’s a misconception that small groups MUST be at homes. Jesus didn’t always meet in homes. Jesus often met with people in the field, on the shore, and even on the streets.  Homes are a good place for discussions. But if you can’t open up your home for whatever reason, there are other creative options out there. Your workplace is one option. A parks, beach, or your favorite coffee shop are other great places to start. Find a place and time that is most comfortable for you and others to have good conversations about the study.

3) Choose a study

I love this part of small group because I love learning together. I want to grow not only in my faith but all parts of life (financial, relational, parenting and love). What are you interested in learning together as a group? There are so many free resources and curriculum out there. You can register at for a lot of free studies. You can also buy curriculum either at or

4) Offer Hospitality

Coffee and desserts always provide an environment that ease conversations. That’s why food always make a party better.  They provide a warm and welcoming environment helps create reflections and conversations. So offer a simple snack or beverage. You can even rotate that responsibility week by week. People love to cook or buy fun things to eat. It’ll break down walls and build lasting relationships.

I know you can do these four simple steps. You have the ability to create life long relationships and connections. It’s always the hardest to start a group, but once you find  some friends then the group will start to take off. For some of you, this may be the hardest thing you do, but if you keep at it, it will be the most life giving thing for you.

So let me ask you, “Which step do you need to take to get your group started this week?”

Kevin Lee is the small group intern at Saddleback Church Newport Mesa. He has a passion for discipleship and small group ministry. He’s has extensive ministry experience and is currently getting his Masters of Divinity at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University.

small-group-dominate-talker-picHave you ever left a small group meeting frustrated because you could not share much? If so, it’s probably because you have someone that a “dominate talker.” They are usually first to answer the question and the answer never seems to stop. They always have something more to say as you slowly zone out. And here’s the thing, they may not even be aware that they are doing this.

So what can you do to help that dominate talker become a better listener? Here are 5 effective tips that you can use this week.

1) Set Ground rules before the meeting

Before the group starts, remind every person that the small group values group participation. You set the expectation and value that every person has something valuable to share. This hopefully clues in the dominate talker. If not, you may need to remind the talker about this ground rule.

2) Arrangement of seats

Studies show that how you seat yourselves matters. Usually the person who sits next to the leader talks less in the group because they receive less eye contact. So, wait for the talker to sit down first and then have the group facilitator sit next to that person.

3) Get input from others

You may need to politely cut off the talker with phrases like “great, anyone else have any thoughts on this” or “is there anyone who has not shared yet?” This will give opportunities for others to speak and remind the talker about the ground rules.

4) Use specific questions for individuals

Instead of asking open ended questions to the group, you can ask other forms of questions (yes/ no, true/ false or multiple choice questions).  This forces the dominate talker to give you a brief answer. You can then follow up the discussion by turning to someone else and asking, “What do you think Sally? Do you agree? Why?”

5) Meet with the Talker outside of the group

Invite the person for some coffee and ask them for your help. You ask them to be a co-facilitator whose job is to ask other people questions. Encourage the person to ask follow up questions and to continue the conversation. Help them be on your team and work with you.

Which one can you use this week to help your group have a more productive small group?

Let us know how it works!


“How was small group last night?”

“It was good.”


That’s probably the most common answer you give to someone who asks you about your small group. But have you ever wondered what makes a good small group good? Or better yet, what does a healthy small group look like?

A healthy small group balances the five purposes (worship, fellowship, discipleship, service and evangelism) that God created for the church including small groups. This means that your group practices these purposes in one way shape or form. It may not happen every meeting, but a healthy small group strives to balance these purposes during the life of the small group.

Here are some ideas and thoughts to help your small group become healthy.

Small group grows deeper through DISCIPLESHIP

Discipleship is helping believers mature in their faith especially during tough times. Small groups help you navigate that through that through the Word of God.

  • Have each person share a lesson that God taught them this week
  • Talk about Sunday’s message and what you learned about God
  • Choose a curriculum or a book study (,
  • Memorize some verses and discuss

Small groups grow closer through FELLOWSHIP

Fellowship is about building connections and community. It’s about helping people grow closer together and feel like family through food and fun.

  • Share a meal together (potluck style) before small group
  • Split the group and have a guys and girls night out
  • Schedule a fun activity (baseball game, beach day, picnic day, concert)
  • Share what you are thankful for and take communion together

Small groups grow outward through SERVICE

We are all designed to serve and give according to our unique gifting and passion. Small groups can help you identify your passion as you serve the church and the community.

  • Choose a study to help discover your gifting or S.H.A.P.E. by Erik Rees

  • Pick a way you can serve each member in the group (yard work, wash car)
  • Encourage each member to volunteer and serve at church
  • Have your group do a service project together outside of church

Small groups grow stronger through WORSHIP

Worship is more than music. Worship is an attitude of surrender to God. Worship in a small group remind us to focus on God in every part of our life.

  • Attend a Worship Night at your church
  • Have a time of worship through music (acoustic guitar or youtube of a song)
  • Encourage everyone to print out lyrics to a worship song and share how it influenced them
  • Have everyone share one thing that they need to surrender to God

Small groups grow larger through EVANGELISM

Evangelism is about helping others experience the love of Jesus Christ. Small groups  help you share your story locally to your neighbors as well as globally to the world.

  • Have one person write down a name that is unchurched and pray for that person
  • Do a walk around your neighborhood and pray for each family
  • Bake some goodies and pass it around your neighborhood
  • Go on a local or global mission trip together as a group

When your group balances these purposes, you’ll discover more health and purpose. Your group will grow and mature in ways you may not have imagined.

Which of the five purposes does your group do naturally, and which one does your group  struggle with?