Birthing a new group can be hard on people because they don’t want to lose friendships. So when your small group launches a new group, careful planning can help the group celebrate it as a milestone rather than mourn it as a loss.
Recognize the challenge
Recognize that when one group reproduces itself in another group, relationships will be affected. For many, their small group is the first place they ever really found true love and authenticity. We don’t want to pretend that people are not giving something up.
Help people see the bigger win
We give up things we love for things we love more. We love our close friendships. What we love more is the opportunity for people to go full-circle in their pursuit of God. Space for new people to come in. Places where new leaders are developed and turned loose. Keep casting vision for how reproducing a group helps build God’s kingdom and fulfill Jesus’ mission. If you are aware of success stories of other groups reproducing, talk about them with admiration.
Share positive images of multiplication
In life, when someone is born, there is some pain – at least for mom. But there is also a reason to celebrate, because a new life enters the world where there wasn’t one before. This new person has qualities and potential that it’s parents may not have. That’s one picture we can use to help people celebrate the birth of a new group.
But launching a new group is even more like a wedding. When a father walks his daughter down the aisle, it’s a bittersweet moment. They will still have a relationship, but it won’t ever be the same. Her attention will be focused on another man. But by giving her up, Dad allows her to step into the full life God has in store for her. Besides, no one would call it healthy if daughter lives at home for years after she grows up. The same is true when group leaders try to keep new, developing leaders “at home.” A wedding – and the new opportunities it represents – is something to celebrate! So is the launch of a new small group.
Make a big deal out of it
Remind your group frequently that they are doing something that less than 1% of small groups in America ever do. By reproducing, they are doing something elite. Congratulate them!
Have a commissioning ceremony
Before the new group launches out, formally pray over the new leaders and the members of new group. Send them out with empowerment and blessing.
Celebrate it in public
When your group reproduces, tell the whole church. Work with your pastor to find a way to let everyone celebrate the birth. This gives the members of your group social status. It also puts reproduction on the map for the whole church by letting everyone know that it’s normal and it’s valued.
Have a family reunion
Promise your group that you will create opportunities for them to see each other. For example, plan the first family reunion before the new group is launched, for a month after the launch. This will help alleviate fears of separation people will feel.
Most people will reconnect with their new group just fine, and will continue to experience great relationships. The fears people have usually don’t come to pass – at least not to the extent people think they will. Yet a wise leader will understand what the people are feeling and will be intentional about turning the new group launch into a celebration.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Talk about how church leaders and small group members might look differently at the idea of reproducing groups.
- How can you help group members see a new group as a bigger win than existing relationships?
- The video mentions birth and marriage. Can you think of other images that put launching a new group in a good light?
- What are some specific ways to celebrate and make a big deal out of a new group launch?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
- Small Group Reproduction Plan (pdf)
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- Small Group Team resource page
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