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The goal of every small group is to reproduce. If a group is healthy, it can successfully launch a new group. But it takes a certain critical mass to start another group. There is no set number that will dictate if a group is large enough to branch out. Instead, consider a number of factors that will affect when a group has the numerical strength to launch a new group.

An outward focus

If the people in the group are outwardly focused and invitational, it takes fewer people to start a new group. People with that attitude have the vision and energy to succeed. They will be doing the right things even if there are less of them.

[Related Topic: Creating an Outwardly Focused Small Group]

[Related Topic: Train Your Group to Be Invitational]

Work as a team

Everything in a small group should be done as a team. To launch a new group, you have to have enough people to have two viable teams, which could be 3-4 people or more in each. Technically a group of six people could launch into two groups if everyone was part of the team, and everyone was committed to inviting others.

[Related Topic: Sharing Ministry in a Small Group]

Leadership is key

More important than the number of attendees is the number of trained leaders. A very large group will not be ready to reproduce until there are enough adequate, trained leaders to lead both the old and the new groups.

[Related Topic: How to Identify Future Leaders]

[Related Topic: How to Develop New Small Group Leaders]

Not just numbers, but maturity

A group of more than 12 people will be frustrating for most participants. Group members will not be able to know everyone very well or to participate much. The physical location may feel crowded or noisy. When a group gets into the upper teens, people drop out. But sheer numbers is not the main issue. A group has a great chance of reproducing successfully as its members are growing in maturity. In other words, as group members start to help others pursue God, the group is increasingly prepared to multiply itself.

[Related Topic: Going Full Circle as a Group]

Don’t wait

The best strategy is to pave the way for reproducing the group long before it becomes necessary. Don’t wait to act until the group becomes uncomfortable or people start leaving. As the leader gives ministry away and prepares others to lead, the group will become ready to reproduce long before the numbers force it to.

[Related Topic: Getting a Group Ready to Reproduce]

A group that is being invitational, making disciples, and raising up leaders will become healthy and vibrant. Not surprisingly, that’s also the group that will be ready to reproduce.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. What are some pros and cons of a group getting large?
  4. When is a group too small to launch a new group?
  5. Why is size alone not a good enough measure of a group’s readiness to reproduce?
  6. Why do you think groups wait too long to start preparing to reproduce?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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