A Bias Toward New Groups

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What does it take to connect people at crowd’s edge?  Among other things it requires a bias toward new groups.  Let me unpack that statement.

What Does It Mean?

Let’s talk about what it means.  First, a bias is “an inclination to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives.”  That’s a helpful start.  A bias doesn’t imply there aren’t other alternatives.  It just means that you lean this way even though there are other alternatives.

Second, let’s define “new groups.”  It’s not rocket science.  It is simply choosing to start new groups (as opposed to making existing groups your top priority).

Why Is the Bias Important?

The bias is important for several reasons.  First, every new group identifies and puts in play an additional leader (or more commonly, an additional set of leaders).  This is very big.  If you want to have any chance of connecting beyond the usual suspects and into the crowd…you will need a lot more leaders than you have today.

Second, every new group provides x number of open spots for grouplife.  That’s big, too.  Remember, adding new members to existing groups fills one or two spots at a time.  Every new group adds 8 to 12 open spots at a time.

Third, new groups are often filled with previously unconnected people…and in most cases, 8, 9 or even all 10 of their 10 best friends have never been to your church.  Don’t miss this.  This is a very big concept.  This is the single biggest reason that I believe the x-factor is near the edge.


Existing group leaders will rarely be fans of this bias.  Group leaders that have developed a dependence on a centralized new member pipeline will have great difficulty seeing the benefits of a bias toward new groups.

What’s the solution?  As you’re beginning to implement a bias toward new groups, be sure and train your existing group leaders to think differently.  The main reason I developed my Top 10 Ways to Find New Group Members was to help leaders learn to think differently about filling their groups.

What do you think?   See how a bias toward new groups could make a difference in your small group ministry?  Want to argue?  Got a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Nathan Creitz on April 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I love talking to people about the Gospel and I think embedded in the Gospel is a mandate to reproduce. Jesus says to His disciples: “Go and make disciples…baptizing them…teaching them to observe everything I commanded them”. So, His disciples are to also make disciples and teach them to a) love God b) love others and c) make disciples.

    Paul picks up on that in 2 Timothy 2:2. I even think this idea of reproduction/multiplication needs to come across in how we talk about making disciples through small groups. For example, people talk about their groups splitting or dividing. I prefer to think of groups producing other groups.

    So thanks for this post. I think too ofter our group leaders get stuck thinking the purpose is community when the purpose for our groups should be discipleship and community is a healthy by-product. I’ve blogged about it elsewhere but I’ve come to realize that the lack of multiplication leads to division.

  2. Anonymous on April 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for jumping in here, Nathan. Good thinking. Whether a small group system operates using the cell church methodology of birthing new groups (out of existing) or launching entirely new groups (using the Connection, GroupLink or Church-Wide Campaign strategy)…any way you slice it, new groups are where the greatest potential is.


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