5 Small Group Ministry Myths that Need Busting

Share via:

I love the Discovery Channel show MythBusters.

The show has a simple premise: The MythBusters team "proves and disproves urban legends and popular misconceptions using a signature style of explosive experimentation." The myths and misconceptions that get tested range from the absurd (can you herd cats?) to the profound (could Luke Skywalker really swing himself and Leia across a chasm with only his belt-rigged grappling hook). Very fun.

But you know...sometimes I run across a small group ministry myth that really needs to be busted. You know what I'm talking about?

Here are five small group ministry myths that I believe need busting:

Here's a look at the first small group ministry myth that needs busting:

Myth #1: An important key to growing the number of groups in your small group ministry is for every leader to have an apprentice.

What do you think? Is that idea part of your philosophy of grouplife? Based generally on cell group philosophy and particularly the Meta Church model, the essence of the practice of developing an apprentice is to replace yourself. The genius of apprenticing is that it makes it theoretically possible for a small group to grow and birth every 12 to 18 months.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Do it enough times and you connect everyone to a group. Theoretically. See also, Do Healthy Groups Really Grow and Birth?

Truth: It turns out that while apprenticing is a powerful leadership development practice, it is only occasionally a dependable method of multiplying groups. Oh, the idea sounds good on paper:

  1. Recruit an apprentice
  2. Grow your group to 12 people over a 12 to 18 month season
  3. Birth a new group where the apprentice takes 6 and the leader keeps 6
  4. Now you have 2 groups
  5. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Apprenticing as a group multiplication strategy does sound good, but has two major flaws.

Small group ministry myth #2?  Small groups are an effective way to connect people but ineffective at making disciples. You can read about it right here.

What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. brian phipps on April 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Your link to the conversation from Myth #2 is broken so I will comment here: I believe small groups are flexible environments where a number of discipleship practices can happen. They can be HOST groups for 4-6 weeks with a connecting/belonging purpose. They can be a one week, 90 minute vision casting experience. They can be a 12 months leadership development experience. Small Groups aren’t bound by any particular principle to only accomplish one goal. They are flexible. I believe they are the single most effective environment for these discipleship practices to take place. We use them for all of these and more efforts. Thanks Mark! Keep pushing us!

  2. markchowell on April 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks for jumping in Brian!