Archive for New Groups

3 Ways to Commission New Groups


The Great Commission calls for us to make disciples. From Jesus’ follow me example, we know relationships are a key factor in disciple-making and that relationships are built in small groups. So why is it important to commission new groups? If we are going to follow the model of our Master, we will commission leaders and groups to create new groups of disciples.


  • Come and See Groups

One way to create new groups is to commission group members to start a group in their home. The focus of the group would be to invite neighbors to ‘come and see’ or come and explore the claims of Christ. In Acts 2, the church went from house to house “breaking bread,” “praising God,” and “enjoying the favor of all the people.” In recent days, churches have experienced revival through evangelistic home groups that connect people to Christ and to His church. Some churches have commissioned or challenged class members to start a Backyard Kids Club to reach families. Don’t miss the opportunity to challenge your group to be on mission by commissioning groups in their communities.

  • Follow Me Groups

Groups should be aware of people who have never attended a group or have dropped out of church or groups because of some type of ‘disconnect’ from others. Some leaders create a ‘paper class or group’ from a list of church members and community members who are not in a group. Many of these people need someone to invite them to “follow me.” There a numerous people not in groups because they attended and did not find anyone who tried to intentionally connect with them. Help your group members discover people who would follow them into a new group.

  • Be Fruitful and Multiply Groups

Every group should be challenged to develop new leaders in order to commission a new group every 12 – 24 months. The Great Commission is a reminder of the first words God said to mankind, “be fruitful and multiply.” Disciples have been recreated by Christ in the image of the Creator who expects them to be fruitful and multiply. Groups should create new groups. When you launch a new group, do so with the commission to be “fruitful (grow in faithful obedience) and multiply (grow in number).”

Each time one of these groups are launched, conduct a commissioning service to celebrate!

Prepare to Start Fresh This Year


FreshWhen does a fresh year of Sunday School and small groups begin. Many launch close to the start of the school year. That means that many launch on the first Sunday of September, second Sunday of September or a couple of weeks before September.
Others opt for a time earlier in the summer. Why earlier? The decision is often due to a desire to move (promote) teens or children into the next grade shortly after the school year ends. As a result, some launch a new year of groups on the first Sunday of June, July, or August.

No matter when your new year begins, there are some things that can be done to prepare for a great, fresh launch:

  • pray and seek God’s leadership and blessing;
  • enlist God-called leaders;
  • start new classes;
  • provide training for every teacher and leader;
  • commission every worker;
  • clean and straighten all classroom space;
  • restock and straighten the supply/resource closet;
  • paint/update classroom space;
  • prepare new classrooms;
  • replace worn equipment and furnishings;
  • organize to reach and care for people;
  • prepare good records;
  • make contacts with all members, absentees, and prospects;
  • plan new year fellowships;
  • communicate well with all workers;
  • plan outreach/ministry/service projects;
  • set goals for contacts, new members, attendance, and discipleship;
  • set aside time for a planning retreat;
  • and more.

Are you ready yet? What are you doing to prepare for the new year? Share it with by pressing Comments. Give God your best effort. Pray. Start well. Plan. Launch new leaders and classes. Reach and care for people. Make the new year fresh!

For more ideas about launching a fresh year, check out these posts:

Some Shocking But Solvable Church Math

crosswordDid you like “word problems” in school? Most people don’t. One of my favorites is from a nonsense greeting card:

“If a chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long would it take a grasshopper with a wooden leg to kick all the seeds out of a dill pickle?”

Of course, you can’t solve that problem. With the right information, you can solve this one:

A church averages 150 people in the building during Sunday morning worship. The church is an average Southern Baptist congregation. How many of the 150 participate only in the worship service? How many in Sunday School? About how many classes are there? Five years from now, how many of each group will still be active?

In order to solve the various equations called for by this problem, you need the following data:

  • On average, SBC churches report a Sunday School to Worship attendance ratio of 2:3 (67%).
  • On average, SBC churches have a class to attendance ratio of 1:10. Every class does not have exactly 10, but—over time—the average is about ten people per class.
  • In High Expectations, Thom Rainer reports the findings from a team of researchers who analyzed membership data from a sampling of churches to discover what happened to new members after 5 years in two categories. They found that members who attended Worship only, 16 percent were still around 5 years later. If they attended worship and Sunday School, 83 percent remained active.

So, let’s solve the word problem. How many of the 150 during worship also attended Sunday School? 150 times 67% equals 100. 100 people attended worship and Sunday School.

How many classes? 100 divided by 10 equals 10. So about 10 classes.

How many of the 100 who attended worship and Sunday School will still be active in 5 years? 100 times 83% equals 83.

How many of the 50 who only attend worship will still be around in 5 years? 50 times 16% equals 8.  That’s not a typo. There will be eight. Did that sink in? Eight.

This is more than a word problem. It is a real problem. Fortunately, the problem can be solved! How? By getting worship attenders into Sunday School. Or—more likely—starting new groups. Bonus problem: How many classes are needed to involve the 50?  Did you say 5? Good job!


David Francis is the Director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville

Download David’s books and training here

Two Words that Will Determine Your Group’s Destiny

groupsI believe that your Sunday School class or small group will grow proportionally to the degree you embrace, advance, and insist that your class/group always remain SMALL and NEW!

There are some jumping for joy because their class/group has been small for fifty-seven years and they think that’s good.  Well its not good.  Every group, every class and even all churches should be reaching new people.  If your class, group and church are not adding new people then something is wrong.  Don’t use the excuse of staying small for the reason of failing at evangelism.

The most effective size of a group is 8 to 12 in weekly attendance.  If your class/group is larger than 12 then it is difficult to really connect.  Your class/group must be small in order for real disciple making to occur.  Jesus preached to the crowds but he spent more time with a small group of disciples.

Your class/group needs to be small enough for people to open up and share what’s going on in their lives.  It needs to be small enough for people to be engaged in discussion during the Bible study.  The members should know each other and also be willing to encourage as well as receive encouragement from others.  If your group is larger than 12 it will be nothing more than a class and based on my experience that’s all you will ever have, a class that meets on Sunday.

The way you keep your group small and stay faithful to the mission of reaching others with the Gospel is by starting new groups.  If your class is stuck and you’ve not added a new person in the last three years, then it’s time for you to start a new group.  If your class has been growing and the average attendance is over 12 then it’s time for y’all to start a new group.  If it’s been five years since a new class was started in your church then it’s time to start a new class.

Churches, classes and groups that start new classes/groups are reaching more people than those that refuse to multiply.  They are seeing more people saved and baptized.  Not only are they growing numerically but the churches, classes and groups that focus on the SMALL and NEW are growing spiritually as well.

The first step toward NEW and SMALL is you as the leader/teacher enlisting an apprentice.  Pray.  Ask God to give the name of the person, then go to them personally and share what God is doing.  Begin leading your group as a team.  Train the apprentice modeling for them and then allowing them to lead.  Start the new group.  You take one and your apprentice takes the other.  Repeat the process.

Every year your church must have NEW and SMALL.  Every year your class/group needs to start a NEW SMALL group.


Dr. Smith serves as a state missionary with the Georgia Baptist Convention and is the Sunday School/Small Groups Specialist.  Visit their website at for more information and other resources to aid your Sunday School or small group ministry.  You can also connect with Dr. Smith at, or

Stage 2: Declare and Resolve

ResolveMost of us have good intentions. We mean to keep our New Year’s Resolutions but our resolve is not as strong as our hopes. When it comes to starting NEW GROUPS; your resolve must be strong. New Groups are rarely started by accident. They don’t typically happen on their own. New Groups in most cases happen because of a catalyst. That is usually one or more people who have decided that a new group is not a possibility but a definite. The key is figuring out the right timing.

Growing things are healthy and healthy things grow. That’s not my opinion. It just happens to be true. Face it, if you haven’t started a new group (especially an adult group) in a long time; it will not be easy. Oddly enough, the more new groups you start the easier it gets. The first barrier to starting a new group is your resolve. Adopt this phrase: “it’s not if we will start a new group, it’s when we will start a new group”.

In the book, Countdown: Launching and Leading Transformational Groups, David Francis and Rick Howerton use the statement “a declaration phase”. When your plan to start a new group gets to the point that you have set a date, chosen a leader, selected a curriculum and put a sign on the door of a room; you are there. As a matter of fact, if any one of those items mentioned above are true, you are well on your way. This philosophy of name and claim it I can embrace.

Flake’s Formula reminds us that after we have “imagined the possibilities” it is time to “enlarge the organization”. In order to enlarge the organization, you need to start new groups and enlist and train new leaders. New Groups and New Leaders are the two most powerful forces in creating the dynamic of change in a stagnant culture.

Don’t settle for less. Name it and claim it for the kingdom of God. Determine today that you WILL start a new group and declare it to your church. That might seem like a lot of pressure but then again accountability sure goes a long way in helping you keep your resolutions.


Sean P. Keith is the Sunday School/Discipleship Strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention.