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Multiplying Small Groups

This article was written by Jon Ferguson, a pastor in the greater Chicago area. Read more of Jon's thoughts at his blog, Viscosity.

A Small Group Explosion - Part I

Today I was reminded of Joel Comiskey's book Home Cell Group Explosion. The book was written based on his research of the most prominent and fastest growing small group based churches in the world. They were located in 8 different countries and four distinct cultures. He spent an average of 8 days in each one. More than 700 small group leaders completed his 29 question survey, designed to determine why some small group leaders succeed and others do not when it comes to connecting the unconnected and reproducing their small group. He identified the following factors that DO NOT AFFECT MULTIPLICATION, and in the process de-bunks some widely and quietly held myths.

1. The leaders gender, social, class, age, marital status, or education were not a factor in their ability to multiply their small group. Maybe you'd never say it out loud, but quietly thought that one gender or the other or more highly educated leaders would likely be more successful in growing and reproducing small groups. Comiskey's research says, "no."

2. The leaders’ personality type was not a factor in their ability to multiply their small group. Both introverted and extroverted leaders multiplied their groups. Whether you're a lion, otter, beaver, golden retriever, made no difference – not a factor. Do you think becasue you're a high "D" or high "I" on the DISC profile, you're more likely to be effective in small group leadership? Comiskey's research says "no."

3. The leader’s spiritual gifting was not a factor in their ability to multiply their small group. We might think that someone with the gift of leadership for example would be more successful in multiplying a small group, than say someone with the gift of mercy or shepherding. Comiskey's research says that’s not the case.

So, what factors did contribute to leaders successfully connecting the unconnected and reproducing small groups . . . stay tuned.


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If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

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