6 Keys to Successful Small Groups


The other day the consulting team at the Unstuck Group was having a conversation about how to help churches get unstuck when it comes to the disciple-making ministry at their church. In particular we were discussing Small Groups. In the conversation Chris Surratt who runs SmallGroup.com and serves as a Ministry Consultant with the Unstuck Group mentioned 6 great questions that churches should be talking about if they want to have a successful small group ministry.

#1 Is the Sr. Pastor a Champion for Groups?

The churches that I’ve observed that have best small group ministries have a Sr. Pastor that isn’t just a public fan of groups but they are personally in a group. They lead with moral authority by not just saying do as I say but they personally model biblical community in groups. Having a hard time convincing your Sr. Pastor to join a group? Then follow this link to a post that will help.

#2 What’s the Competition?

Churches that have a ministry menu mentality usually have the most difficult time building a successful groups ministry. The more ministry opportunities that you offer such as midweek classes, prayer services, and so on the more choices people have. The more choices they have the less likely they’re going to choose being in a group. By offering a ministry menu churches are unknowingly undermining their group ministry.

#3 Is there a Key Leader?

Who wakes up everyday thinking about Groups at your church? It doesn’t have to be a full-time staff member; it could be a high level volunteer leader. But either way one thing that all churches that find success in their groups ministries have in common is a key point person who is responsible for groups.

#4 What’s the Win?

At the end of the day what are the expectations for groups at your church? What are you hoping happens through groups? What’s the point of groups at your church? Put a clear target on the wall and then build a plan to move towards it.

#5 Is it in the Budget?

Just like you can tell what’s important to a person by looking at their “check book” you can tell what’s important to a church by what they resource and budget for. Churches that find success in their groups ministry budget for success.

#6 Is it Scalable?

Is it easy for new people to get into a group? Do you have enough leaders to accommodate new groups that are starting? Do you have experienced group leaders who can offer coaching to leaders who are just starting out? If the answer to questions like these are no then you’ve got a system issue somewhere and you’re going to have a difficult time scaling as the church grows.

By the way, follow this link if you’re interested in picking up Chris’s new book Small Groups for the Rest of Us.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


The Most Important Leadership Question You Aren’t Asking


Volumes and volumes have been written about leadership. You can search online and purchase any number of books about how to lead effectively, how to improve as a leader, you can pick up a historical account of how the best leaders have led, and there is never any shortage of books that will help you define what a leader is and determine if you are one.

While I’ve read my share of leadership books, wading through all of that can simply be exhausting. When it comes to determining if someone is a leader or not I prefer to start with a simple question:

What kind of affect do they have on the people and the organization around them?

  • How do they make people on the team feel?
  • Do people want to be around them?
  • Do they improve the performance of the team?
  • Are people inspired by being around them?
  • Do people naturally follow them?
  • Do they produce results?
  • Can they persuade others to adopt their ideas?
  • Can they move the organization towards the objective?

Sometimes the best way to determine if someone has a leadership gift is to take a step away from all of the leadership science offered up in most books and simply observe if they’re actually leading. That’s what leaders do.

Posted in Leadership


5 Keys to Developing Young Leaders in Your Church


It seems like everywhere you turn lately some national church leader is writing about the bleak future of the US Church due to younger generations leaving. Well, recently I spent some time at a place that made me really hopeful about the future of the church in America.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to do some coaching at Ethos Church, a young multisite church located in Nashville, Tennessee. In just 7 years Ethos has grown to 3 locations and more than 2,500 people in attendance, and the rate at which they are baptizing people is in the top 10% of churches in the US! Plainly stated God is using the ministry of Ethos Church to change people’s lives. But what excited me the most about my time with them was everywhere I looked there were young leaders, and not just serving as interns or in some inconsequential role. But there were young men and women in their 20’s and 30’s (the ones in their 30’s were the old ones…I guess that makes me ancient now) who are serving as the Sr. Leaders of this fast growing church.

In working with churches around the country unfortunately churches like Ethos have become the exception rather than the rule. It doesn’t have to be that way. This list below of “5 Things Young Leaders Need” is a great place for your church start.

1. Opportunity

Even leaders who have been gifted greatly don’t start out as great leaders. Someone somewhere gave them their first opportunity. The tough thing about leadership is that it isn’t learned in a classroom it’s learned by leading. In order to grow and develop, young leaders need the opportunity to get real hands on experience.

Question: Does your church give young leaders real opportunities to lead stuff that matters?

2. Access

Young leaders need access to real leadership conversations. They need to be a “fly on the wall” in board meetings, management team meetings, and executive team meetings. They need to watch the Sr. Leaders in the organization lead through the tough stuff and make the big decisions. They need access to ask experienced leaders questions about how they lead and why they do it the way they do.

Question: Do the Sr. Leaders in your church give young leaders unfiltered access to watch real leadership take place and discuss it?

3. Authority

Young leaders don’t just need busy work to keep them occupied. Once they’ve proven they can deliver through following through on tasks being delegated to them they need to be empowered to make real decisions and exercise real authority to accomplish objectives through leading their own teams and delegating to others.

Question: Does your church give young leaders real consequential responsibility?

4. Grace

Part of the nature of being a young leader is making mistakes. Even experienced leaders don’t get it right all the time; and young inexperienced leaders certainly are going to make mistakes, it’s the nature of young leaders. How you respond when young leaders fail matters.

Question: Does your church give young leaders the room to fail?

5. Coaching

Great coaching can make all the difference in the performance of a team or a particular player. Great coaches do four simple things with their players. They train their players before the game, they put their players in game like situations in practice and get “reps” in before the real game happens, they make in game adjustments, and they watch the game film after the game to review and learn from the player’s performance.

Question: Does your church expect young leaders to learn on their own through their own experience or do you actually coach them?

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


The 2 Most Important Ingredients of a Winning Team


You’ve probably heard this popular African Proverb before:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The reason this statement has become so popular and “gone global,” is that it resonates with us at a core level. We inherently know that it’s true; not just from a tactical team building framework, but this is the way God designed life to work.

If you’ve ever played on or been around a winning team you know how much fun it can be. You also know that winning teams are rare, only one team wins the championship each year. You also know that winning teams don’t just happen on accident. They’re built with great intentionality. So as you’re in the process of mixing the right ingredients to build a great team, make sure you mix in the 2 most important ingredients to building a winning team:


Trust is built up close and over time. It’s more given than earned. But it’s given to people who have a proven track record, because the best predictor of future success is past performance. We know what to expect from each other and trust that we are each going to play our role at a high level.


While great teams are composed of great players, those great players know how to keep their ego in check. Great players are great not just because of their talent level, but they put the team first. Which means they do what’s best for the team instead of what’s best for themselves or their career. They’d rather be a role player on a championship team than a star on a mediocre team.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


3 Reasons it’s Good for Church Staff Members to Leave their Church


Through coaching and consulting relationships I’ve had the privilege to work with a lot of Church Staff out there in church-world. One of the more common questions I’m asked by Church Staff Members is, “How do I know when it’s time to leave my church?”

It’s not always a simple straightforward conversation, it’s complicated and often nuanced. And it’s never a decision that should be made lightly. Truth is, there are probably a lot of reasons a Church Staff Member might leave a church. Some of them are valid; some of them are not so valid. But if you’re a Church Staff Member and you’re considering leaving your church, below are three great places to start in the conversation.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation. Someone on the church staff is frustrated due to the lack of vision at the church or they don’t agree with the vision and they feel that it’s their job to challenge the leadership and point out their flawed ways. If as a church staff member you can’t get on board with the vision of the church or there is such a lack of clarity of vision that it’s leading to a deep level of frustration then it’s time to find a leader and a vision to follow that you believe in.

God’s Call

If you’re sure that God is calling you to something else, then that’s a fantastic reason to leave a church. But before you start waving around the “God’s will card,” you better be sure that it was God’s voice you heard talking and not that pizza you had last night at 1:00am.

Loss of Trust

If for some reason you lose trust in the leaders that you’re following, or if they lose trust in you it can make it exceptionally difficult to remain on staff at that church. Trust is the fuel that leadership runs on. When it’s eroded you can forfeit the right to lead or be led. And while most will contend that trust is earned, it’s actually something that someone chooses to give.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing
Page 1 of 12812345»102030...Last »