Steve Gladen’s Latest Learning

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When is the best time to launch new groups?  How much advance preparation does it take to pull off DVD-driven curriculum?  How can you incentivize launching new groups?


In a recent post, I pointed out the fact that we’re not living in “a day when the status quo is a good thing.  At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century…it is clearly time to develop a bias toward what’s next.”  To help all of us figure out what’s next, I’ve asked a number of the best-known grouplife practitioners to share their latest learnings.  Here’s what Steve Gladen had to say:


Steve: In summer Pastor Rick did a series on the Invisible War.  We produced a very simple DVD small group curriculum.  Literally a DVD and 1 page notes to download.  We offered the HOST’s a 50% discount (still covered the church’s cost) and if you gathered two friends and started a group, Pastor Rick would give you the DVD free. We started 102 new groups in the summer…July!

Note:…Saddleback started 102 new groups…in the summer.  They made sermon-based curriculum available…in the summer.  They made the curriculum available at cost.  They gave it away free to anyone that gathered two friends and started a group.)

Steve: This weekend is 9-11, and we’ll do the same with the Life’s Healing Choices curriculum.  If a visitor wants to gather two friends, we will give them the curriculum…a great healing curriculum for a painful moment.

Note: Pay attention to the way Saddleback leverages natural opportunities, combining legacy (curriculum they developed in 2009) or off-the-shelf curriculum with well-timed promotions to launch new groups.


Steve Gladen is the Pastor to the Small Group Community at Saddleback Church and the founder of the Small Group Network.  He’s also the author of Small Groups with Purpose.  You can sign up for the Small Group Network newsletter right here and follow him on Twitter.

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