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Friday, May 15, 2015

What makes a small group a small group?

I was catching up on MinistryHangouts this week where they were discussing small groups. Thanks to Greg Surratt for that. 

One thing that caught my attention was the question, "What makes something a small group?" Below I've tried to answer that question as a pastor myself. Hope it helps you whether you're a pastor or small group participant. 

What makes a small group a small group? 

I think it requires several things at a minimum:

  1. At least 3 people gathering together in the name of Christ.
  2. Meeting at least twice a month (organized). Other times informally is important too. (organic)
  3. They pray together whenever they meet.
  4. They are studying the Bible in some way. Could be when they are together. Could also be holding one another to read through the Bible when they are apart and then they discuss when together. (think accountability to self-study)
  5. They are on mission together. They have an intentional way they serve the church on mission together. It could be through a ministry at the church or that they each are living intentionally on mission at work and are praying about it specifically together.

Key Values

  • Mission of God (making disciples)
  • Family of God (they are doing life together regularly)
  • Disciples/Learners of God (they are learning to live the word out together)
  • Worship of God (they see prayer as their lifeline to God)
  • Servants of God (they serve the Lord together)


Key identities

  • Family
  • Missionaries
  • Servants
  • Learners/disciples



Better is to become an "oikos" (Greek for "household" on the Bible) (meaning household or extended family on mission together). (Credit 3DMovements and Mike Breen for this)

This group would look like I’ve described above with a couple of edits:


  • They’d start out as at least 12 people and grow from there. Groups of 3 would be DNA groups within this larger group (call it a missional community).
  • They’d make their mission personal and corporate. It would be multi-layered too. It might include their neighborhood, someones’ kid’s t-ball team and Curacao.
  • The learning part would be a combination of self-study in the word (like SOAP) but also times of learning together (preaching, teaching). 
  • Worship could also broaden to include praise times through music and other means.
  • In both cases, unbelievers and new people are encouraged to attend. But in the case of the MC, they’d be intentionally and prayerfully reaching out to “people of peace” they believe God is bringing into their oikos.
  • Multiplication is a key expectation of this community.  
  • A huddle would start for training up for the leaders in the group with the expectation that God would be raising up one or more to lead a new MC (or other kind of group) in the future.