Comments on "More Larger Small Groups?"

Most comments came over email, so I'm listing them all here, in addition to posting the comments that were sent in as comments. Some good questions and suggestions. Most are from our small group leaders. Keep them coming. The last comment is from one of the co-authors of Activate (two of our transplanted Five Oakers attend his church in Manhattan):

  • Very thought provoking bullet points.  We've been wrestling with this issue somewhat as we consider ourselves a "large" Small Group, but didn't quite feel that we were at the point of multiplying.  We have seen much of the comments below exemplified in our group.  Thanks for sending!
  • I like the idea, my initial concern is will there be enough homes that can host a larger group or hosts willing to take it on?   It takes a good sized house to host a group of 15+, plus have room for kids— my groups have often struggled to find enough people willing to host regularly.
Related to the “weirdo factor” but slightly different is that a smaller group can be dominated more easily by a couple of strong personalities.  I’ve experienced this.  The group tends to either struggle to incorporate these strong traits or ends up taking them on.  Having a larger group lessens their impact. Good topic for discussion though….I’d say why not try it with a couple of groups and get feedback on it.
  • I think this may give people a reason not to multiply. The only large group I was part of seemed to be a few people talking and many people listening. And sometimes people don't show up because they figure, "I won't be missed in that crowd." I do agree that the "weirdo" factor is true although I may have been the weirdo factor.
  • I think that it is nice to be able to consider a larger group as an option. For (divide by 2) multiplying purposes I've been thinking that at least 16 on a regular basis is a good number for multiplication. This however can still put stress on both resulting groups as they "regroup" due to possible loss of some members, leadership dilution, and other factors. Therefore if the group can be allowed to grow larger (and this would be different for each small group), then the resulting groups could multiply into somewhat larger groups initially and overcome some of the stresses that occur once the multiplication has occurred.
On the flip side many of our homes can not readily handle 16 or more people so this limits the hosting options for a group... So perhaps it comes down to a choice (or a balance) between where the stress is felt more, either the stress of the group being to large or the stress of the newly formed group being able to gain critical mass. Just some thoughts here to add to the mix....
  • Wow, so rarely does someone ask me, "What do you think?" that I can't resist responding! I think big small groups are great.  I hear people say things like, "The group got too big."  They say it about churches too.  But to me it means they're growing and I think that's one of the main purposes - newcomers and growth. As far as intimacy....that probably won't happen in a group that's always open.  I'll have to think more about this....sometimes the lack of intimacy disappoints me, but maybe I'm just unrealistic, and certainly I do have intimacy with people outside of the group so I guess I'm pretty darn blessed!  :)
  • And do they have a greater potential to multiply – easier to break off part of it?  Or is the idea… just keep getting bigger? Trust you are well Henry… thanks for letting me ask.
  • Thanks for the shout out to Activate! I glad you are finding the book helpful. We just posted a ton of free stuff related to the book at: God bless you and thanks for the post! Nelson Searcy Co-Author: Activate - An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups Lead Pastor, The Journey, NYC P.S. I'm now blogging at