A little bonus

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I’m working on writing a book that I hope will help a lot of people. (in fact, it will release on November 18!) It’s grown into the culmination of the last 6 years of my life as a small groups pastor. I weave my story through strategies you can use to help get small groups started

  • for the first time ever
  • alongside Sunday School
  • in conjunction with other off-campus groups
  • in a big way
  • in a tiny way

I’ll also walk through how to keep groups going, maintaining growth over time through coaching, curriculum, and continued spiritual growth.

Starting Small also includes a bonus download section. It was originally going to be a part of the book, but the more I put in to it, the more I realized it was a separate resource that could stand on its own.

This is stuff that didn’t fit into overall flow of the book, but that I thought would be helpful. I thought it would be helpful because it’s the info I get asked about when I talk with other groups pastors. It’s

  • sign-up forms
  • leadership agreement/covenants
  • a curriculum track
  • a sermon-based small group discussion template
  • childcare ideas
  • leadership application/interview
My goal with this is to provide a helpful additional resource that answers a lot of the questions that folks normally ask about small groups, getting them started, and the processes and procedures to implement.
And I’d love your help!

Just answer one of the following questions in the comments section below. I’ll choose one person to send an advance reader copy of the book to.

What questions about small group life would you want answered in a resource like this?
What issue holds your small group back from achieving all you know it could be?
This resource could make my life easier by including ________.
What’s the most frustrating thing about your small group?
I’ll choose one of these, and include the question and answer in the bonus section of the book. I’ll also email that person an advanced copy of the book.

Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • JViola79

    How do you keep a small group from becoming a clique? Or exclusive?

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Good one!!

  • Nicholas Lenzi

    In response to: What issue holds your small group back from achieving all you know it could be?

    What are the best practices to ensure shared responsibility among group members?

    I’ve noticed one issue that has really held back our group(s) and it’s this myth of “the leaders responsibility” So for example:

    It’s the leaders responsibility to grow this group.
    It’s the leaders responsibility to hold members of the group accountable.
    It’s the leaders responsibility to address the individual that makes me upset.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Hey Nic! That’s a fantastic question. Thanks for throwing it in!

  • http://www.tanyadennisbooks.com/ Tanya Dennis

    This sounds like a great book. The most frustrating/challenging part for us in building small groups is how to do it naturally. Small groups that really gel grow out of organic experiences. How do you foster something organic (healthy, disciple-like relationships) from something institutional (church programs and initiatives)? I’d love to know what has worked for other churches.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      I’m with ya, Tanya. Organic vs structured is a tough one. Thanks for throwing that question in the mix!

  • Adam Parker

    Wow, looks great Ben! Congrats on heading toward the finish line, :)

    I think the most difficult thing for me is how to communicate and manage grouplife with people who are already so busy and burned out. That seems to be the #1 push back I get on encouraging people to start or join a group. I would love to see some insights on that from you, on how best to manage that perception and encourage people to make those next steps.

    Can’t wait to read it!

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks Adam!

      Great question. I feel like I’m too busy and burned out to lead a group, too, so I can only imagine the same is true for group leaders who don’t do this for a living!

  • Brandon Mead

    Most frustrating: Avoiding the tenancies of becoming either a social club where there’s no depth or an intellectual group where people talk about the Bible, but don’t apply it to their lives.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Brandon, I’m with ya. That’s a tension that’s tough to manage.

      Thanks for throwing that question in!

  • Zack DeBerry

    Can’t wait for the book! This is where I am at right now as an interim small groups pastor.

    My biggest question is how do you get your group members and apprentices to take the next step of leadership? How to get them past the common “I could never LEAD a group” excuse.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      That’s a great question, Zach. We tell people a lot that the goal of a small group is that people would take steps of faith together.

      I love the direction you’re thinking.

      Thanks for jumping in!

  • Jon


    The most frustrating thing I experience is spreading the passion and vision for group/shared life effectively to foster deep desire, selfless sacrifice, and authentic commitment from those involved.

    I understand what Adam was describing in that people are already engaged with other and often higher ranking priorities. However, is it not true that we all (despite responsibilities, obligations, schedules, demands, circumstances) move heaven and earth to fulfill our deepest desires.

    My questions:

    How can we work in conjunction with the Holy Spirit for people to get so fired up that they’d be eager to move heaven and earth just for the chance to fellowship with God and His people?

    This minefield that is genuine, dynamic relationships is difficult enough to navigate but that in itself does not segue into group shared life. How can this be redirected for that purpose?

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Wow. Big stuff there, Jon. Thanks for throwing those questions in!

  • Mya Parker

    Most frustrating challenge of small groups I’ve been in and led – how do the members openly and honestly share the very important details of their lives without elevating their own life circumstances above growing in their relationships with Jesus? Understand that you can’t have relational growth (between members and with the Lord) without authentic transparency, but how does a group ensure that sharing the very important details of life don’t trump the worship of and pressing into the Lord…especially given the time constraints each week?

    Excited for this book, Ben!


  • Mya Parker

    I know I’m cheating because you asked us to answer one question, but this frustration/challenge rivals the other I shared – how does a group move beyond the weekly small group time to a place of truly “doing life together”…and not just saying it? How does a leader effectively encourage this, especially with believers who have never experienced life and community the way God intends it to be?

    Ok, done now!

  • http://www.SmallGroupChurches.com/ Andrew Mason

    Looks like a great book Ben! I look forward to owning a copy and reading it.

    My questions would be:

    Do you use a coaching structure? If so, how do you manage it? Do you still lead a group yourself? If so, how do you balance the tensions between leading a group, pouring into group leaders and pouring into coaches? What have you learned about coaching over the years? What are the growth points where you need leaders over the coaches? What are the growth points where another staff member is needed to be added?

  • Emily Doss

    I would want childcare options/ideas addressed. When I’m looking at the big picture small groups are going to be affected by childcare for the next 10+ years for our family. (Our current church does not provide childcare reimbursement and we live in an area with no family nearby.)

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Why are small groups important? And what are the top 3 things that church leaders can do to connect people in small groups?

  • MP

    Ideas and strategies for dealing with difficult group members – this might be an entire book on its own. I’m thinking a title of “God loves them, why can’t I!”

    You are missed Reed family!

  • Zach

    To learn more about operating a Medium
    Sized Group strategy that intentionally moves people to Small Groups would be awesome