Friday, October 12, 2007

Small Group Models

I just finished some correspondence with a small groups pastor about NCC's model and other models of community and discipleship that are floating around out there. I'm a huge proponent of discovering and developing your philosophy and theology of community and discipleship before looking for a system or a model. For that process, I recommend reading George Barna's Growing True Disciples.

Here are some of the models that we've studied or have influenced us as we've created our group culture.
  • The Cell Group Model- championed by Dr. Cho, the cell group model began a lot of the excitement about groups around the world. It's the standard grow and multiply system. (Recommended reading: The Second Reformation, Making Small Groups Work)
  • The Willow Creek Model- I'm sure there's a more technical name for it, and it's probably more of a culture than a model, but this one has influenced us a ton. (Recommended reading: Building a Church of Small Groups, The Seven Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry, Walking the Small Group Tightrope)
  • G-12 or Principle of 12- championed by Cesar Castellanos, this model has the potential to become too rigid and controlling, but the underlying principles are good. Our approach to coaching structures is based on this. (Recommended reading: Groups of 12, From 12 to 3)
  • The Neighborhood Model- championed by Randy Frazee, the neighborhood model is great for suburbia. Groups are established geographically. (Recommended reading: The Connecting Church)
  • Free Market Small Group System- championed by Ted Whaley and New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, this system encourages leaders to develop community around interests, passions, and hobbies. This model has influenced us a lot and shapes our approach to how we launch groups. (Recommended reading: Dog Training, Fly Fishing, and Sharing Christ in the 21st Century)
  • The Closed Group Model- Northpoint Community Church does a great job with this! (Recommended reading: Creating Community)
  • The Missional Model- championed by Denise VanEck at Mars Hill Bible Church, this model puts service at the forefront of group life and purpose (as opposed to fellowship, Bible study, etc). This is a new one for me, but it's making me think a lot.
I'm sure I've missed some important ones, but these have been influential in our thinking.


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