In 45 minutes on the phone, I learned from Small Group leaders in Pennsylvania, Canada, Colorado, California, Minnesota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Texas.  Saddleback hosted a Conference Call (CC) to connect leaders from across the nation in follow-up to there recent Small Groups Conference.  I know CCs are nothing new, and this one may not be different from your experiences.  But for me,  this was different.  Most of us had never met each other.  Our situations were vastly different in size and years, yet we were dealing with the same issues, and in some way seemed to be friends and fellow servants. 

We focused on “How to grow the SG ministry from 10 to 15 groups” and “How to measure health of groups, not just numbers.”  I discovered we were not the only church who struggled to get the SG plane off the runway.  Most churches are quick to get the first 10 groups going, but the next 10 are much more difficult.  FBC Smyrna now has over 55 groups meeting all over the county, but the addition/multiplication of more groups (4 times a year) is still difficult.  The basic principles I heard discussed in this conference, (ie apprenticing, inviting, asking, hosting, befriending) are still the successful ways to involve more people in Discipleship, Community and Service.  And  this is how we have seen God multiply the SG ministry at FBC Smyrna.  By building these relationships, holding the expectations high (which are clearly and constantly communicated) and trying to monitor the health of the groups, multiplication is happening.

The SG leaders from the Conference Call are now scheduling follow-up luncheons in our areas to continue discussion and learning in preparation for the 2008 SG conferences.   Check it out, this may be just the thing you were looking for….