Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. We’re chatting with David Raney, the Executive Pastor of Ministry from 2ND Baptist Church in Arkansas.
2ND Baptist is one of the fastest growing churches in the country, and as a growing church they want to make sure people get plugged in so they don’t fade away. Listen in as David shares how to build a system for healthy small groups that’s always reproducing new leaders.
- Building the small groups system. // A big challenge churches have is how to shift people from casually attending to being fully involved. At 2ND Baptist Church they found that the best way to do that is through small groups. But that meant reworking their system as the church grew and launched a portable campus.
- Ongoing open groups. // 2ND has both an on-campus model of small groups for their permanent location, and a home group model for their portable location, however the philosophy for groups is the same. The groups are open and ongoing, meaning that they don’t have an end date and anyone can join at any time. All groups—whether they are for teens, parents, or seniors—are sermon-based and work through same content each week, which creates synergy across the whole church.
- Give leaders resources they need. // The system 2ND has in place focuses first on building group leaders so that groups can then grow and multiply. There is a small group leader handbook that gives clear direction about what the church is expecting and not expecting of leaders, plus has examples of what healthy small group life looks like. There is a heavy emphasis on making sure group leaders are trained and have the resources they need. Leaders are also encouraged to find others in their groups who could be future leaders, and train them to go out and start new groups.
- Three circles of healthy small groups. // 2ND’s goal is to have a well rounded small group life that creates avenues for people to take next steps with Jesus. They created a Venn diagram to demonstrate how that looks. In the first circle is weekly bible study, in the second circle is monthly hangouts, and in the third circle is quarterly help-outs. Hangouts are all about spending time with each other to deepen friendships, and doing things such as going out to eat together after church. Help-outs are an intentional way for the group to live on mission while having fun, and focus on the group serving together in the community.
- Replicate God’s work in the group. // People can be hesitant about starting a new group when they already have a group they enjoy. But David explains to his leaders that it isn’t about trying to split up a group, it’s about replicating what God is doing in their groups and growing new groups from them. New small group leaders are required to come out of an existing small group so that they understand the culture and DNA of what 2ND is trying to do.
- Home groups and campus groups. // Both home groups and on-campus groups have their pros and cons. Home groups tend to be more relational while on-campus groups can be more convenient for people to attend and have built in child care. Regardless of how groups are handled, consistently launching new groups and constantly communicating about them to the congregation will help grow small group life at your church.
You can learn more about 2ND Baptist Church at www.mysecond.family.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Chemistry Staffing
One of the things that they never teach you in seminary is when to move on from your current church. Over the last couple of years, we have been having a TON of conversations about this with pastors all over the United States. Of all the ministry decisions you make, leaving your position will be the toughest.