Multiplying small groups
On fire student, small groups (SG) grow, however, when they get too large the impact of SGs internal discipleship and external student mission is weakened. In this short blog, I want to explore why multiplication should be the goal of student SGs.
SGs help students fulfil the two-fold mission of Jesus which is to be a disciple and to ‘go’, whilst at uni.
‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit'. Matthew 28:19
However, when a SG starts to get too big its focus on discipleship and mission loses sharpness for example:
- SG leaders can no longer pastor and communicate with all their members effectively.
- The missional mindset of SG members starts to fade.
- There is a danger of becoming a big social club that limits the depth of discipleship.
- SG vision and values (the SGs focus) are not as clear.
Pursuing multiplication in a SG helps students stay hot on their call from Jesus and maintains:
- A strong sense of community with meaningful relationships
- Intentional and deep discipleship
- Missional focus with the goal of inviting friends who don’t know Jesus and reaching more students on campus.
When to multiply?
OK, Daniel, I see your point but when would multiplication happen? Including leaders and assistant leaders, the sweet spot for small group size is between 6-10 people. Once a SG hits double digits it’s time to start thinking about multiplication. You may think this sounds small but there are plenty of benefits of this for SG members such as:
- More contribution opportunities
- More leadership opportunities
- More missional opportunities
- Closer friendships and deeper relationships
Overall, smaller student communities make room for further community growth and that means reaching more people on campus with Jesus!
How to multiply?
Here are some practical tips on how you can multiply:
- Share Vision - Do students know why they are part of a SG? Is there a clear vision, direction or purpose for the SG? Remember, SGs aren't just hangouts with free food. Discipleship and mission should be the focus and communicating this early establishes a unified missional mentality amongst all members from the get-go!
- Empower New Leaders - When you see your small group getting to around 10-12 people you can start empowering the assistant SG leader to take the reins. Allow a few weeks handover time for the new SG leader to adjust and feel comfortable leading independently. Encourage the new leaders(s) to identify their own assistant leaders so that they can replicate the multiplication process in the future.
- Commission - We need God in the multiplication process so make prayer a big deal before officially launching them! On top of this, the new SG will feel a sense of ownership and purpose. Make sure that before launch the new SG leaders are trained and equipped to be able to share their vision for what they feel like God wants through that SG.