…and for that matter, so concise that small-group leaders will actually read it. And if they do, they’ll come away with a framework that can be easily transferred within any small-group ministry.
Jim Egli and Dwight Marable. Small Groups, Big Impact: Connecting People to God and One Another in Thriving Groups. Softcover, 112p., $15.00. ChurchSmart Resources.
Egli (a small-group pastor and author of a dozen books on the subject) and Marable (director of Missions International, which has equipped leaders in more than 50 countries) surveyed more than 3,000 small-group leaders in more than 200 churches to find out what’s working and what isn’t. And while some things might not come as a surprise to many leaders, some things will. (Just one example: One’s giftedness in leadership is not an indicator of a successful group.)
Egli and Marable break it all down into easy-to-digest but meaningful pieces. First, there are the three basic group dynamics—conversion growth, assimilation and group multiplication. And again, a group that’s strong in two dynamics but not the third has a very good chance of stalling. Thus, the need to invest in all four main factors that grow small groups: pray, reach, care and empower.
You might notice a parallel sequence between the two groups; so did the authors. Thus, a chapter is devoted to developing each factor, along with some take-and-use principles and ideas at the end of each chapter.
The authors also place a huge emphasis on empowering leaders, both from inside the group and from outside. In other words, small-group leaders are strongly encouraged to share the load with other emerging leaders in the group, thus growing them in the process; and churches are just as strongly encouraged to have a strong coaching system in place to help both existing and emerging leaders develop.
But above all, Egli and Marable stress, “[T]he one most critical factor to having a vibrant small group is relationship—relationship with God and relationship with others. Growing groups have leaders that are connected to God and empowering others. Their members are giving themselves to one another and to those who don’t yet know Jesus.”
If this sounds like the kind of small-group ministry you’ve been trying to create (and if not, why not?), then pick this book up. To find out more about this book and ministry, go to smallgroupsbigimpact.com, or visit the good people at ChurchSmart Resources.