The “Quick Start” Small Group

At Willow Creek’s small group training seminar they presented some helpful models on the training & supervising of leaders, as well as the formation of small groups themselves.

One of the most interesting approaches for starting a small group (or neighborhood “Life Group”) was to have two large gatherings per year for those that are interested in getting into a community for an 8-week series.  At the gathering you work to separate the people by neighborhood or region.

You then ask the groups of 6-8 to have about a 40-minute conversation around the basic issues of life and each person’s spiritual journey.  At the end of this 40-minute discussion the leader of the gathering then asks each group to point to the person in their group that they feel should be the leader.  Everyone points, and the majority wins.

There you have it, small group formed and running!

From there it is really simple.  You double-check to make sure the leader is connected to the church and not a heretic, give them an 8-week curriculum, and then just see what happens.  A number of churches that conduct these “Quick Start” communities say that only 20% fizzle out after the 8-weeks, while 80% continue on as healthy, small group communities.

So, what do you think?  A community formation model worth pursuing?


~ by Dave Smith on May 3, 2008.

4 Responses to “The “Quick Start” Small Group”

  1. Are You Kidding Me??

    Have you READ Creating Community by Bill Willits & Andy Stanley?

    That’s a complete rip-off of our GroupLink strategy.

    And yeah, it works!

    (Geez, Dave, you could have come to DRIVE and gone to the community-group track and heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.)

  2. Yea, they actually sited NorthPoint as a one of the churches who uses this…however I think they stated that Saddleback was the originator, doing it for over a decade.

    I think the one difference they stated with NorthPoint is that they have a leader already trained and ready to take each of the groups formed. Is that accurate? They also stated that due to a leader development crunch, they are now leaning more on the traditional “quick start” launch with a fresh and new leader at the initial gathering.


  3. Yes, that’s pretty much accurate.

    Historically, we went into GroupLink knowing exactly who the leaders would be. Now, in situations where we don’t have enough leaders, we send them into the 8-week trial period leaderless. We ask them to take turns leading during the first 8-weeks, and at the end of the eight-week trial there almost always is one clear leader that has emerged. But we don’t immediately annoint them. They still have to go through our leader application and approval process, ensuring they are on board with our mission, strategy, and theology.

  4. Here’s something you’ll find humorous.

    In Willow’s conference workbook they gave us, they recommend 8 books on various small group models. Knute’s ABF book was one of them! :>)

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