Set the tone early.
Certain values and attitudes need to be cultivated far in advance to help a group prepare to reproduce. If you spring it on the group late in the game, they will feel threatened. It will feel more like a loss than a win. So start being invitational and welcoming. Cultivate a vision for the group being outwardly focused. Speak often and with enthusiasm about the privilege of one day giving birth to a new group. Talk in terms of having a lasting legacy by going full circle as a group.
Highlight future leaders.
To reproduce your group, you need to develop leaders. To help the group prepare for launching a new group, they have to come to the place of trusting and respecting those leaders. After all, half of group members will need to follow a new leader into a new group. So give your emerging leaders the spotlight. Let people see their growth and preparation. Give more and more responsibility and control of the group to them. Let your developing leaders outshine you. The less you make it about you, the easier it will be for group members to transfer their loyalty and trust to new leaders.
Divide up whenever possible.
To prepare the group mentally for launching a new group, find ways to divide up the group for various activities long before you reproduce. Split into two or three sub-groups often in the course of ordinary group life to help the group members get used to not always being together all the time. For example, during prayer time, send half the group into another room. (This will have the added benefit of giving more people opportunity to participate.) After presenting the lesson, you can split the group from time to time for discussion. As group grows, this may be necessary just to manage group dynamics. But it also breaks down the assumption that everybody has to know everybody else equally well. People will start to create new identifications. Let future leaders lead the sub-groups, so people get comfortable with their leadership.
If leaders try to reproduce a group that is not prepared, the members will probably resist and may never be open to trying the idea again. But if leaders help group members catch the disciplemaking vision behind reproducing, launching a new group can be an exciting, faith-building experience that group members will want to do again and again.
- 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?
- Why is it so important for small groups to reproduce?
- What happens in a group when the leaders want to reproduce but the members are not prepared?
- How does spotlighting future leaders help a group prepare to reproduce?
- What are some other practical ways that a group might divide up into sub-groups long before a new group launches.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.