25 Small Group Quotes from “The Lobby” SoCal 2017

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 25 quotes from this amazing week…

People join a small group for content, but they stay for the relationships.Rick Warren

You can’t microwave a great small group ministry.Steve Gladen

Make sure that you are not just talking about community, but that you are experiencing community yourself.Bill Willits

Authentic Community is both the goal of the church and the means of achieving that goal.Ben Reed

Eight of the ten largest churches in the world are small group based.Randall Neighbour

Growing churches require growing leaders. I don’t worry about growing the church, I worry about growing me. – Rick Warren

Living in an angry world causes a Christian to go back to the basics.Valerie Bell

When it comes to small groups, most American Christians tend to get excited about content before being hooked by community. – Andrew Mason

Your leaders are worthy of your investment. – Nick Lenzi

Pay attention to your soul. You can only give out of the overflow of what God is doing in you. – Carolyn Taketa

Bigger isn’t better, healthy is better. The key to health is small groups. Rick Warren

Staffing is never the answer, engaging your volunteers is.Steve Gladen

We best influence people with whom we have relationship.Bill Willits

First reach them as a friend, then reach them as a friend to your small group & then they will become a friend of Jesus.Randall Neighbour

The more people that drink from your well, the deeper your well needs to be. Therefore, feed your soul. – Daniel Thomas

The devil plays in two arenas – fear & isolation, so get with other people & join in a “Huddle.” – Steve Gladen

The Small Group Network is here to pick you up, dust you off and put you back together again.Nick Lenzi

Small groups should be considered as an additional pipeline to deliver the Lead Pastor’s message to the church.Andrew Mason

Preaching only doesn’t bring discipleship, you need small groups.Rick Warren

If you don’t have community in the good times, guess what… you don’t have it in the bad times. – Adam Workman

We believe the local church should be the safest place on the planet for a person to discuss anything.Bill Willits

I could not imagine living my life without my small group. My group is my family. – Eric Falcinella 

There is a difference between a church that has small groups in it and a church of small groups.Rick Warren

If you don’t have an infrastructure in place, they will go away as quickly as they came.Steve Gladen

To grow spiritually you must be connected relationally. – Bill Willits

17 Small Group Leaders to Follow in 2017!

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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

Small Group Leadership Essentials with Carolyn Taketa

Q Do you need some encouragement, fresh strategies and practical advice as a small group point person? If your answer is “Yes,” then you’ve come to the right place!

Carolyn Taketa is the Executive Director of Small Groups at Calvary Community Church in West Lake Village, CA. She is the author for such publishers as “Christianity Today” and Host of the Small Group Network’s “Group Talk” Podcast. In this month’s video interview, I ask Carolyn the following questions in this exciting interview…

  • What is one challenge that you face as a small group point person and how do you go about addressing it?
  • What small group model do you employ at your church, what do you like about it and how does it work?
  • When it comes to coaching small group leaders, what is one piece of practical advice you would offer?
  • When it comes to actually hosting a small group, what is your number one piece of advice for hosts?
  • What is one or more books on leadership or small groups that you would recommend?
  • What is one reason you would give for why people should attend“The Lobby” gathering in SoCal March 2017?

Small Group Network: Q&A with Saddleback’s Ben Reed

Ben Reed is a Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, where he also serves on the lead team of the international Small Group Network. Ben is the Author of “Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint.”

Ben answers the following questions below in this exciting interview…

  • What drew you to small groups ministry?
  • What are the best ways to promote small groups from the pulpit?
  • What advice would you give when it comes to recruiting more leaders?
  • What are some things to avoid when starting a small group ministry?
  • Have you found any new approaches that inspire people embrace to authentic connection?
  • What are the top things you are doing now to prepare for fall small group ministry this fall?

Splash Mountain Small Groups Hosted by Walt Disney

(Originally published on the SmallGroupNetwork.com)

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What if Walt Disney was a Small Group Host? This question was bouncing around in my head a few weeks ago as I enjoyed a family vacation to Disneyland! In fact, I started penning this post as I waited in line for over 60 minutes to ride the newly renovated “Hyper Space Mountain!” Tens of millions of people flock annually to the Disney theme parks that were born out of the dream of Walt Disney. So, what if Walt Disney was a small group host? Imagine attending his small group on top of splash mountain or enjoying community together with his group inside Pirates of the Caribbean! While the purpose of a theme park is obviously different than that of a small group, I think there is much we can learn from Walt’s vision and leadership that we can apply to small group ministry!

So, if Walt Disney was a small group host, what might his group look like? Based on what we know about his theme parks, I think his small group might include the following components and aspects…

• Imagination
Walt Disney had a dream and began to imagine what could be. Successful small group ministry starts with leaders having a dream and catching a vision of what dynamic small group ministry looks like!

• Strategic Planning
Since its founding in 1955, Disneyland is always building and expanding. A dream without action will never happen! Small group leaders need to be strategic about planning for their ministries and groups to grow and be all that they can be!

Excellence
Disneyland theme parks are known for their world class excellence and attention to detail. To create an amazing group atmosphere that makes people feel welcome, leaders and hosts should pay attention to details like lighting, music, mood and cleanliness.

• Fun
Disneyland is known as the “Happiest place on earth” where people come to have fun & laugh! Our small groups should be joy filled settings where people can laugh during an ice breaker game, eat good food and enjoy fellowship with the family of God! After all, we have the greatest treasure to celebrate and share – Jesus!

• Value for People
Disneyland values people highly by offering incredible customer service and by anticipating and meeting people’s needs. Healthy small groups should roll out the red carpet and value people well by going above and beyond to serve them!

Diversity
Disneyland draws an international audience of people from all over the world – every race and creed. Our small groups should reflect heaven as we welcome anyone and everyone who desires to explore the Christian faith and grow deeper in Christ and in community!

• Empowered Leaders
With operations in more than 40 countries, Disney employs over 166, 000 employees to make the Disney Dream happen! Healthy small groups identify leadership potential and empower leaders to use their gifts and serve in ministry!

Q What else would you add to this list?