Why you can’t afford not to start new groups

In a recent conference with church education leaders, I helped them understand the financial importance of starting new groups. In fact, a church can’t afford not to start new groups.  Here’s why.

New groups typically add 10 people on average to a church’s Bible teaching ministry.  Now consider that every church has a per capita giving average (a typical church is most likely $25 per person).  Of course, many churches exceed this (the two churches I served did…we had an almost $70 per capita at one church, and $50 at the other).  I had lunch yesterday with a pastor whose church has a $46 per capita giving average.

Let’s do some math.

If a church started a new adult group and bought curriculum for that group, the cost would be about $200 a year (2 leader books (one for the teacher and the other for an apprentice) plus 10 personal study guides for the group members and a few more for guests), plus a commentary for the group leader (these are the resources my company, LifeWay, produces).  If the 10 new group members averaged $25 in their giving each week (the per capita), they would give $250 a week through their tithes and offerings.  Multiply $250 a week times 52 weeks, and you quickly realize that equals $13,000 a year. Subtract the $200 for the curriculum, and you now know why you can’t afford not to start new groups!

Don’t start new groups to generate income for the church, but do realize that a wonderful side benefit of reaching new people for Bible study and church membership through new groups is the fact that group members  will give financially, which helps the church accomplish its mission in the community and around the world. Let’s pretend that the pastor I met yesterday (the one with the $46 per capita giving level at his church) led the teaching ministry to start 4 new groups this year. 40 new group members would be added (10 per group) X $46 per capita giving = $95,680 of new income for the church. I wonder what staff positions they might add, or what new ministries they might fund? Or how many students and kids they could reach with additional programs? Or how many people they could feed through their local homeless shelter. The list goes on!

What would you do with an extra $95,680 a year?  Don’t start new groups as a “money making” strategy, but do realize that it’s a simple fact of life that new groups add new people, and those new group members give financially.  The monetary benefits of starting new groups is a bonus as you and I do what we should be doing anyway…starting new groups and making disciples.

If you’re a group leader and you want to help your church, release some people in your group and help them start another one – reach some new people, and do it again and again.

If you’re a staff leader, set a reasonable and attainable goal for starting some new groups next year. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll have some additional finances through which your church can accomplish the Great Commission.


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  1. Ken, so good to see you at lunch yesterday and introduce you new our pastor. BLESSINGS on your guys in Nashville as you work tirelessly to equip us guys out on the field….you all are loved and appreciated!

    Brian Kaiser Hesperia, CA

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