17 Small Group Leaders to Follow in 2017!


Why only 17? Lets make that 22 Small Group Leaders to follow in 2017! Get equipped & inspired by following these dynamic Small Group Leaders! While there are many more amazing leaders I could add to this list, my criteria was…

#1 Great Small Group Leaders that I know of &/or have followed (Sorry if I’ve never heard of you!).

#2 Small Group Leaders that could be followed by others on Social Media somewhere.

#3 Small Group Leaders who had either written a book on the subject &/or had an active blog where they write on the subject of small groups & leadership!

(In Alphabetical Order)

1 Allen White – Small Group Coach & Consultant at AllenWhite.org & Author of “Exponential Groups: Unleashing Your Church’s Potential.”

2 Amy Jackson – Managing Editor of SmallGroups.com, Leadership & Small Group Consultant & Founder of AmyKJackson.com

3 Andrew Mason – Small Groups Pastor at Real Life Church in Sacramento, CA. Founder of SmallGroupChurches.com & Blogger for the Small Group Network.

4 Ben Reed – Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Author of “Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint,” Communications Coach for the Small Group Network & Founder of BenReed.net

Dr. Bill Donahue – Speaker & Professor at TIU in Deerfield, IL. Small Groups & Leadership Consultant at DrBillDonahue.com & Author of “The Irresistible Community: An Invitation to Life Together.”

6 Bill Willits –  Executive Director of Ministry Environments for North Point Ministries in Atlanta, GA. Small Group Consultant & Co-author of “Creating Community” with Andy Stanley.

Carolyn Taketa – Executive Director of Small Groups at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, CA & Host of the Small Group Network’s “Group Talk Podcast.”

Chris Surrat – Ministry Consultant, Small Group Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, TN & Author of “Small Groups For The Rest Of Us.”

Daniel Thomas – Pastor of Adult Ministries at Highlands Fellowship in Abingdon, Virginia. Regional Leader of the Small Group Network & Founder of SecondChair.co

10 Eric Falcinella – Pastor of Network Development at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Director of the Small Group Network & Host of  the Leadership Obsession Podcast

11 Jim Egli – Leadership Pastor at the Vineyard Church in Urbana, IL. Small Group Consultant, Founder of JimEgli.com & Author of Small Groups Big Impact.

12 Joel Comiskey  – Cell church coach & Consultant. Founder of JoelComiskeyGroup.com & Author of “2000 Years of Small Groups: A History of Cell Ministry in the Church” among others.

13 Laura CopelandSmall Group Pastor & Coach at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA & Blogger at LauraMCopeland.com

14 Mark Howell –  Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Founder of SmallGroupResources.net & Blogger at MarkHowellLive.com

15 Matt Graybill – Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA & Small Group & leadership Coach.

16 Michael C Mack – Small Group Coach, Founder & Director of SmallGroupLeadership.com & Author of the “World’s Greatest Small Group: 7 Powerful Traits of a Life-Changing Leader” among others.

17 Jon Noto – Community Life Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church’s North Shore Campus, Blogger at SmallGroupNetwork.com & Founder of TheUnwavering.com

18 Randall Neighbour – President of Touch Outreach Ministries and Founder of RandallNeighbour.com

19 Roger Carr – Small Group Coach & Founder of SmallGroupInternational.com

20 Ron Wilbur – Former Pastor of Small Group Health at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. International Connection Director for the Small Group & Blogger for the Small Group Network

21 Scott Boren – Small Group Consultant, Founder of “The Relational Mission” & Author of “Leading Small Groups in the Way of Jesus” among others.

22 Steve Gladen – Global Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Author of “Small Groups with Purpose” among others & Founder of the Small Group Network & SmallGroups.net

3 Keys To Soaring Summer Small Groups


Last month we launched our summer term of small groups & have seen hundreds of un-connected people get connected into community! We’ve seen new friendships being made, families growing deeper in faith & lots of fun being had! We’ve seen many new leaders rise up to use their God-given gifts in leading & facilitating these groups! Praise God!

Summer doesn’t have to be a time to hit cruise & watch your small group ministry fade! By using the 3 keys below, I believe your summer small groups can soar!

#1 Think “Outside” the Box

In the fall & winter terms, all of our groups gather in homes, but in the summer we do a hybrid of both home groups & interest based groups that gather outside! Yes, many people are traveling during the summer, however I’ve found most are not all out-of-town at the same time! Therefore, think outside the box of ways to gather people into community! Hint: Outdoors, fitness, BBQ’s, etc

“A church must grow larger and smaller at the same time. Larger through worship and smaller through small groups.” – Rick Warren (RickWarren.org)

#2 Recruit Leaders Who are Hiding in the Shadows

Due to travel, several of our key hosts were unavailable to lead home groups this summer. Yet, because we had already been thinking “Outside” the box, it was easy to start identifying & recruiting leaders who were hiding in the shadows that might have been previously overlooked. Most of these leaders had experience in or a passion for one of our special interest groups or home group curriculums.

“Raising up new leaders is an intentional process, rooted in Biblical discipleship, that deepens peoples’ commitment to Christ and His kingdom.” – Andrew Mason (SmallGroupChurches.com)

#3 Promote Groups With an Appeal to People’s Summer Interests 

Our special interest groups include: a geo-caching expedition group, a couple of softball groups, a mommies group, a bicycling group, a baking group, a motorcycle group, a mountain biking group, a couple of fitness groups & an intro to music group – all of which incorporate a quick time of prayer! Our home groups are video driven & topical based.  If asked, I think most people would be very interested in this type of community! The focus is not so much promoting summer small groups, but promoting community, the outdoors & discipleship!

“When we have fun, we can invite people along who might not be ready to attend a Bible study or go to church, giving them an opportunity to begin building relationships with other people who are followers of Jesus.” – Will Johnston (WillFJohnston.com)

What else are you doing to cause your summer small groups to soar?

20 Small Group Quotes from “The Lobby” 2016


The largest global network of small group ministry leaders, the “Small Group Network,” annually hosts “The Lobby” small group conference in Southern California. Here are the top 20 quotes I’ve heard so far this week…

  • Small group ministry is more of an art than a science. – Steve Gladen
  • Leaders gather, coaches pursue.
  • Craft strategic questions that help people go deep. A small group discussion format should take my group somewhere. It should help us start out above-the-surface and nudge us beneath-the-surface. – Andrew Mason
  • Spend enough time preparing your infrastructure, before coaching leaders.
  • A model for growth is better than a model for control. – Nick Lenzi
  • When asking your group leaders for their attendance stats, also ask them to share with you the prayer requests coming from the people inside their groups.
  • Leadership is the natural outcome of discipleship. – David Alford
  • Your church small group culture needs to get to the place where it’s more normal for people in your church to be in a group that not be in a group!
  • Small groups create authentic relationship that stirs revival. – Jimmy Phillips
  • When a guest comes through your church doors, it needs to become immediately evident to them that you are all about small groups.
  • The goal is not more small groups, the goal is discipleship. – Jay Daniell
  • People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel.
  • Celebrate small successes.
  • Numbers don’t get you health, but health will always get you numbers. – Steve Gladen
  • Anybody who has led a balanced small group knows that 5-8 well-worded questions can take up more than enough time for a typical small group session. – Andrew Mason
  • Effective leaders build influence, produce results & develop leaders. – David Alford
  • What processes can be improved to provide better service? –Mollie Hunter
  • You were put at a strategic church in a strategic location to help people find Jesus. – Steve Gladen
  • Small groups are leadership factories. – David Alford
  • Life transformation happens best within the context of community, so if a church is going to be intentional about discipleship they have to develop on-ramps to small groups that reach people on the fringes and beyond. – Chris Surrat

16 Leaders to Follow in 2016


Get equipped & inspired like we have by following the tweets, blogs & ministries of these dynamic leaders in 2016! (In Alphabetical Order)

1 Andrew Mason

2 Brady Boyd

3 Cindy Grasso

4 Dean Deguara 

5 Jeffery Portman

  • Former Student Ministries Director of the Northwest Ministry Network & current Church planter & Lead Pastor of New Hope Church in Puyallup, WA

6 Kevin Moore

7 Mark Entzminger

8 Mark Zweifel

  • Former Student Ministries Director of the Alaska Ministry Network & current Lead Pastor of Fairbanks First Assembly in Alaska.

9 Paul Lewry

10 Rich Guerra

11 Rick Renner

12 Tyler Sollie

13 Tyrone Rinta

  • A leader of leaders with an MA in Organizational Leadership & Lead Pastor of Bell Road Church in Phoenix, AZ

14 Scott Hagan

15 Simon Davenport

  • Youth Evangelist & Student Ministries Pastor @ Full Life Church in Franklin, TN as well as blogger at SimonDavenport.com

16 Terry Parkman

Growing Big through Small Groups: Andrew Mason on Relationally Reaching the Postmodern Culture

Andrew Mason is the Small Groups Pastor at Real Life Church in Sacramento & the founder of SmallGroupChurches.com where he coaches, equips & resources pastors, leaders & churches around the nation regarding all things small groups! Possessing a wealth of knowledge, Andrew touches on these topics…

  • How to reach the post-modern culture through small groups
  • 5 reasons why you can’t afford not to implement small groups
  • How to grow big through small groups
  • Why small groups are ideal for discipleship & community
  • Top 3 small group curriculum recommendations
  • How to get jump started leading small groups

This is a must-watch interview for anyone involved in leading small groups or anyone thinking about it!

For all things small groups, leadership & ministry, follow Andrew on twitter @_AndrewSMason & @SGChurches!

Andrew Mason