A 5 Minute Read - By Chris Bright - posted on July 21, 2020

Podcast Episode 3. Small Groups (with Chris Surratt)


Small Groups tend to be the bane of ever church leader's life. They seem to work for a short time then quickly lose momentum. However, the bigger problem is that churches don't know why they're running them, and without purpose, it's hard to see them thrive. This episode will help your church give your church purpose for running small groups, as well as tips and tricks to make them successful. In this Episode Chris & Lee talk with Chris Surratt. 

About our Guest

Chris Surratt s a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. Chris is also a consultant for The Unstuck Group.

Key Points

  1. You’ve seen many small groups in your time, what are the usual problems people are coming to you with?
  2. So in the church world, many churches are running mid-week Bible studies and many churches are running small groups, but my guess is that most churches don’t know why they are running either. Why are small groups so important in the life of a church?
  3. I’ve heard of so many different types of small groups, some are evangelistic in nature, some are focused on pastoral care and some on learning and growing. For many pastors, it’s difficult to know where they should fit, so they often try to do them all. How can pastors think about how they position their small groups in the life of the church?
  4. A big factor of a group’s success is getting a group to gel together. What strategies have you found most successful in creating a group that develops relationships and community?
  5. When it comes to thinking about the content of your small group sessions, what is the thinking that you use to help shape content?
  6. The other thing I continually notice about small groups are that they work for a few months and then lose momentum very quickly. Many churches have started putting time limits on their groups. What’s the thinking behind this strategy, and have you found it to be effective in the long run?
  7. We’re in lockdown at the moment, and we’ve already looked at some of the technology for running small groups in a previous webinar, but how does running a small group change when you’re trying to run the groups remotely?
  8. Many people worry that you cannot create genuine community online. How true do you think this is?
  9. Do you think there are any ways in which we can leverage online small groups once Coronavirus is gone?
  10. I think that we’ve made ourselves believe that meeting in person in the only way to do small groups, and to an extent that’s right, but online isn’t all bad. What are the advantages to online vs meeting in person, and how can we utilise that once we’re meeting in person again?
  11. Hopefully we’ll get out of lockdown soon, and we can all meet in person again. Houses in the U.K. are a lot smaller than in the USA. In the U.K. the average living room is 172 square feet (16 square metres) compared to 330 square feet (30 square metres) in the USA. My living room is a good size, but I could 10 people, whereas I’ve been in houses in the USA that could seat 20-30 people in their living room. How should we approach designing small groups when we are dealing with confined spaces?

Key Resources

Leading Small Groups: How to Gather, Launch, Lead, and Multiply Your Small Group by Chris Surratt

Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes by Chris Surratt