Two Marks of a Missional Group

Today’s blog post is an excerpt from an excellent book written by two friends of mine, David Francis and Rick Howerton. David is an expert in Sunday School, and there’s no one better than Rick in the small-group space! Together, they made a dynamic duo when writing to group leaders. I think you’ll really enjoy hearing their thoughts about how to distinguish whether or not you’ve got a missional group. Enjoy!

The term missional has been thrown around a lot and remains something of a mystery. Though expressed differently in different settings, missional includes at least evangelism and Countdownmultiplication.

Evangelism will always have as its goal to make the gospel known and allow it to do its work. In a post-Christian era, an unbeliever will journey to Christ over a period of time more often than walking the isle at a crusade…the journey may take a long time with a patient friend – maybe in the context of a group – walking alongside the unbeliever as they move from distrust to trust, from complacent to curious, from being closed to change to being open to change…

Multiplication is conveniently described as an apprentice taking part of the group to start a new one while the present leader continues with those remaining. This is very painful and may not be the wisest choice in an era when it takes much more time for a leader to gain the trust of a group member. Here are some options to consider for home groups. How might they apply to on-campus groups as well?

  • Groups of six – six people remain together for a lifetime while continuing to welcome a new group of six every 18 to 24 months.
  • Geographically based groups training new leaders – Groups gather based on proximity to the host home. Every eighteen to twenty-four months the group welcomes a leader in training who will, at some point, start a new mission/group in their home where there isn’t a group presence.
  • Lifetime groups that send out leaders – This type of multiplication happens organically. As a group leader realizes he or she has someone with leadership potential, the leader mentors them in group leadership then sets them free to go and start a group of their own.


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