What’s your small group story?

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Today’s post is by Ben Reed. Ben is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN area. In addition to pastoring, preaching, and writing, Ben has a great passion for coffee. Good coffee, that is. And CrossFit. But not at the same time. You can journey along with Ben at BenReed.net and learn more about his new book, Starting Small, at smallgroupblueprint.com.


Nobody ever stated it outright, but the way our local church was structured growing up made me feel like the Sunday morning experience was the most important aspect of my walk with Jesus. Maybe it was self-imposed, but I felt like if I missed a Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening, or the random youth trip, I’d be smote. Or smoten? Or smitten? No… that’s something else entirely.

It’s easy for churches to slide into this mindset, because whether you like it or not, Sunday morning is coming. It doesn’t matter what kind of dreaming, strategic planning, or structural work you do throughout the week. If you don’t prepare for Sunday you’ll fall flat on your face.

So you dump more time. More resources. More energy. More staff. More planning. Into ensuring Sunday morning is air-tight.

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Don’t get me wrong, corporate worship is vital to our faith. It’s an environment that corrects, teaches, energizes, and worships Jesus.

But without relational connection, The Church isn’t the Church. At best, it’s a show. At worst, it’s a complete waste of our time, energy, and resources.

You and I are the Church. Not the buildings we build. Not the walls we construct. Not the pews we sit in.

The Church exists outside the four walls of our church buildings. You know that, right?

That’s why I wrote Starting Small. To promote small group health. To lay out a strategy for starting small groups, no matter the size of your church. No matter the location. No matter the demographics.

And to help small groups become more effective disciple-makers.

I’ve told my story through group life, failures and all, to help build healthy, authentic, biblical, God-honoring small groups around the world.

What’s your small group story?


Ben has kindly offered two copies of his new book, Starting Small, to give away to readers here. How do you win? Simple: share your small group story—what have you loved; what’s been most challenging? Ben will pick his two favorite answers at the end of the day Wednesday. Winners will be notified by email. 

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  • Jason Tucker

    Currently my church does not have any small groups. However, it is something we would like to start.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Awesome, Jason! Do you guys have Sunday morning groups right now?

      • Jason Tucker

        Not really. Sunday morning tends to be dedicated to the different services (adult and children’s) held in our church. The closest thing we have to small groups is the occasional new believers class held at a member’s home. However, we are looking into starting something.

        • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

          I’d love to help if you’re up for it. Shoot me an email and I’ll drop ya the book, if you don’t have it already. benlreed [at] gmail [dot] com

          • Jason Tucker

            I will drop you a line. With all that I have going on iIt will have to be some time after the weekend. I don’t have a copy of your book, but I do have a chance to win one Aaron… God willing. :)

            • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

              By “drop me a line,” I meant send me your email address so I can send you the book. :)

              • Jason Tucker

                Message sent.

  • Dan Brubacher

    I have led and been a part of small groups for the better part of 20 years–really, since my university days. And for about 14 of those years I have been a small group pastor in various churches, seeking to uphold the value of biblical community. This has been hard work but a tremendous blessing.

    I could tell many stories of my own personal experience, let alone others that I have heard from within our small group ministries. But one that stands out is the journey that our small group took earlier this spring with a couple whose unborn child was diagnosed with significant challenges and was shortly thereafter stillborn. Their initial excitement at being pregnant for the first time was quickly tempered when they had to say goodbye to their little girl. We certainly didn’t do everything perfectly, and it was the first time any of us had dealt with this tragedy with someone close to us. But that couple expressed on multiple occasions how much our group meant to them through those difficult days. Though long-time believers, they had never been part of a group like that before, and thus had never felt that kind of love and care! It was a vivid reminder to me of how just being the hands of feet of Jesus makes a significant difference in people’s lives. That comes as a natural byproduct of doing life together in small groups. There is no substitute for it.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Wow, Dan. That’s heavy. Glad your group could walk this out with them.

  • Evan Webster

    I just started as an associate pastor not to long ago at our church and small groups were under my umbrella of duties. We have developed groups that are in three different categories which are based on where a person is spiritually. One set of groups for those intended for evangelism and outreach, a set of groups for those new to the gospel and newborns in faith, and a set of groups for going deeper into more meatier doctrines. The hope is to progress people through these groups into increasing sanctification. I’m completely new at this so I’m interested to hear the content of this book to see if there are things that I could incorporate (or even if I’m doing things completely wrong!)

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Hey Evan, shoot me an email at benlreed [at] gmail [dot] com and I’ll email you the book. Congrats on the new position!