No doubt the small groups you've been a part of or have led have experienced an ending. When this occurs, i s a small group's last hurrah one of sadness or celebration? That depends, of course, on why the group ends. And that  often depends on why the group exists in the first place.

There are three basic ways to end, roughly correlated to the rate of (numerical) growth a group is experiencing:
  • Losing people over time, the group fizzles. When a group goes from 10 people to 6 to 3... eventually you don't have a "group" anymore. At some point, it makes sense to call it quits and encourage the remnant to find other groups. This happens sometimes, and that's okay, but it's certainly not the stuff of small group dreams.
  • Neither gaining nor losing people over time, the group reaches eternal stasis. Imagine a group that keeps its same members, or maybe there's an occasional loss balanced out by an occasional gain. This can often feel like the best case scenario - we love the friendships we are forming, and keeping things as they are will preserve those friendships. But the purpose of small groups calls us to something even greater!
  • Gaining new people over time, the group multiplies. This is the best end a group can hope - and pray -for. Let's say the space where your group meets can hold 12 people, and your group has 10 people. Do you invite the new couple you meet at church? Yes. But what about the next new couple at church? You invite them, too! And the next couple! If your group outgrows its capacity, you are now positioned to multiply into two small groups.
Why is group growth and multiplication the best case scenario? Because of the primary purpose of small groups is to give everyone at the church an opportunity to connect, grow, and serve within community with one another. While small groups accomplish many other things (deep friendships, fun memories, etc.), their primary purpose remains to create an environment for as many as possible to connect to one another, grow in faith, and serve as the church. 

A group that is always open to inviting and including new people - even to the point of multiplying itself into two groups - has the potential to make a huge impact on the community inside and outside the walls of the church.

Practical Suggestions

"Okay," you may be thinking, "but how does a group multiply?" The short answer is to identify another leader in your group and split the group into two. You can decide who joins which group based on day, time, location, etc. You can lead one of the groups while the new leader you've identified leads the other.

Because we should always be hoping for the chance to multiply, it's helpful to be preemptively in position to do this by having an apprentice leader in place. We've created this document to help you figure out how to prepare another member of your group to take on leadership.

If you're more of a watcher than a reader, Page 2 of this lesson offers a helpful video for investing in a new leader to prepare for your group to multiply.

Additionally, the growth and multiplication of every group is unique, and our hope is that it's a great experience for everyone involved.  We are here for you, so don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you have, especially about apprentice leaders or group multiplication. We are always excited to provide support, advice, and resources.

Jon Mathieu
East End Adult Life Director

Saturday, November 7: OrphanCare  Expo '15, Wexford Campus
Saturday and Sunday, November 21-22: Water Baptisms
Sunday, November 22 at 12:30pm : YOU Belong: Membership at North Way
Monday, November 23 at 7pm: Worship Night at North Way Oakland
Sunday, November 29 : Baby Dedications
Sunday, December 6: "beChristmas" Series begins with Daily Devotional and Small Group Content

Click the link above to manage your group's calendar, send emails, and update members.