It’s really easy to say that your church “does” small groups. That might mean you have a dedicated time and space for a group to meet, usually after someone speaks.

But does small group time really happen well? Why wouldn’t it? Perhaps because:

* Many communicators focus more on being liked than seeing the role as one to set up small group leaders to lead discussion.

* Many communicators think what they have to say is more important than the person going through life with the student.

* Many leaders see small group time as a chance to reteach the lesson, a chance to talk instead of ask questions, a chance to be right instead of listen.

* Many volunteers don’t value small group enough to help with the behind-the-scenes necessities to make it run well.

* Often worship time does not point towards students and leaders doing life together pursuing the Lord, but to a “look at me” time.

Ouch. I know those might hurt. I write them because I’m guilty of some of the above. It’s not that the things above are wrong, excellence is a good thing. It’s that the goal needs to be built around.

The heroes of the story in this context are the people investing time with the students.

In this case, start small to dream big. Does your programming set that up? Does your staff get that vision? Do the other volunteers see their part in helping students engage in meaningful relationships?

Consider how you can leverage your resources to set up your leaders to lead well.

Again, start small to dream big.  That’s the vision. Hang it high and point to it often. As you consider budgets, events, and planning, remember it’s about setting up those relationships to win.

I recently worked with a church that really wants to do small group ministry well. The challenge is their current culture does not bleed that way. They landed on the fact that some extensive foundational work needs to be worked on to take their ministry to the next level. They are dreaming big, but need to start small to move that way.

As you give your ministry away in a big way, consider how you are setting it up small. Your influence and legacy will be maximized when you empower others to invest well.

Bonus plug: I love helping churches do this. Let me know if I can help you!