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How to Multiply Your Groups and Keep Your Friends Too

By New Churches Team

Picture this with me: You are sitting on a comfy couch surrounded by 11 other people. Most of you have known each other for many years. You have celebrated each other’s milestones—babies coming into the world, new jobs, seeing God provide in ways beyond what you have prayed for. You have also grieved with one another—miscarriage, an unexpected job loss, death of a loved one. You have carried one another through the thick and thin by prayer and warm casseroles. You are living life together and growing closer to God and one another through studying God’s Word. You aren’t sure what you would do without this community.

You suddenly snap out of your daydream when you hear your small group leader say, “We have come to the point in our small group where it isn’t possible to add more people because we are just too big. We are called to multiply ourselves. It is time to split up. Chris and Colleen have offered to lead the other group. Who is willing to go with them?” Fear creeps into your heart. Which group are you going to go to? What about your friends? Will you be left behind?

Most of us have experienced the above scenario and hated it. We are creatures of habit and do not enjoy change, especially when it involves people you are about. However, we also understand the need for multiplication and discipleship of our congregation. Is it possible to combine the two without having to split up groups, and ultimately, friendships?

The Purpose of Small Groups

First, we need to examine the purpose of having small groups. Whether your church congregation is 100 or 10,000, small groups help cultivate a culture of transparency, community, and trust. Like the scenario above, it is a wonderful way to grow closer to God and to one other.

However, the moment you split the group up, it may break trust. It also may lead to people questioning if it is worth investing into relationships that may be torn apart again. Like many of you know, once trust is broken, it takes a long time to build it back up.

How Do You Multiply?

If splitting existing groups is not the answer, then what are the alternatives? One practical way to grow small groups is to consistently start new groups with new people being plugged in. Not only are you solving the issue of splitting people up, but you are also helping new people feel included into a newer group where the friendships have not been established for many years.

One important detail to note is that it is important for the leaders of the church to be proactive in raising-up leaders. If you want to grow and multiply your groups, you need to grow the people in your group, so that they will grow into people that can lead other people.

Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 352: How to Multiply Without Losing Friends. Click here to subscribe and listen to more church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.



New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


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