Why You Should Use a Sermon-Based Small Group

Today, we’re going to make a case for why you should consider having some sermon-based small groups at your church- they make it easier to recruit group leaders and they help people go deeper with the message, just for starters!   

But, we’ll be the first to admit they’re not the only type of group you should consider.  So, before we dive into what sets sermon-based small groups apart, let’s talk about the different types of groups your church might host.

Different Types of Small Groups

Interest-based small groups.  Interest-based small groups are built around fellowship, like softball, running, or video games…  These kinds of groups are a great opportunity to bond over common interests and shared experiences, but if you’re not careful, they become just a reason to hang out.  

Bible study-driven small groups. Bible study-driven small groups have a spiritual emphasis.  The leader is teaching, and group members are providing feedback.  

Hybrid small groups.  Hybrid small groups have elements of both shared interests (often revolving around food or games) and Bible study.  

Sermon-based groups. Sermon-based groups are what we’re going to be talking about today.  They have elements of fellowship and fun, of course, but you’re really there to discuss the text on Sunday and the message.  This allows people to dig in.

We lean into these sermon-based groups at Ministry Pass.  Included in all of our sermon bundles are discussion questions that you can hand to group leaders to give them a starting point for discussion.  Usually, we have 5-7 questions, all about the text and message that you’re preaching. 

So, now that we’ve covered the different types of small groups, let’s jump into why you should consider using sermon-based small groups at your church!  

Sermon-based Small Groups Make it Easier to Lead the Discussion

This model is helpful for group leaders who may not feel like they’re gifted in terms of communication. They’re free to facilitate, but don’t have to bear the burden of teaching a Bible study.  Plus, when you use the Ministry Pass questions, they’re formulated in a way that the sermon is answering the questions- your leaders aren’t going to have to play guessing games.  This helps people focus on the tension or issue the passage is resolving.  If you want to go above and beyond, you can send people notes beforehand, for discussion!!!  

Basing the discussion around the sermon also cuts down on preparation time, which is another barrier when you’re trying to recruit small group leaders.  Just think- with less time required, you could have double the number of small groups in your church, possibly! 

Sermon-based Small Groups Increase the Impact of your Message

Having sermon-based small groups make your messages go further.  Instead of listening to your message and forgetting about it, people come back to it again.  They’re forced to consider the application to their own lives, and ask, “How does this change what I believe, how I act, or how I think?” 

When you’re preaching a sermon, it’s one-way communication.  You’re making a presentation, and there’s very limited opportunities to figure out if people are really understanding what you’re saying.  Sermon-based small groups start a conversation, which increases the impact of your sermon.  Plus, it’s how our culture is wired to work.  With Twitter and other social media platforms, there’s a level of connectivity around content that we’ve never seen before.  So give people a voice and an opportunity to ask questions and interact around what they’re learning on Sunday inside their small groups.  

Sermon-based Small Groups Encourage People to Come all Week

Sermon-based small groups give you a natural invite to plug into your sermon- you’re asking people to come and respond to the message, to process through what God is teaching them.  It’s a way of saying, “This isn’t just a Sunday deal, this is a way of life.  And we want you to come on this journey, too.”    

Sermon-based Small Groups are a Great Place to Ask Questions

In addition to questions about the actual content of the sermon, encourage people to share what God is doing in their lives, through the message and in the group.  What do they love about the message and the passage?  Ask what they didn’t understand or what they wish they knew about the passage.  These groups are a great place to get feedback.  If you want to be a better communicator (and who doesn’t?) ask your leaders, “What did people not understand about my message?”  and note that.  You might be able to circle around to it later in your series! 

Sermon-based Small Groups Create Consistency

Finally, a sermon-based small group creates a consistent experience for your group members.  Week in and week out, your groups have a roadmap to follow.  It also encourages people of different faith stages and ages to connect.  People can talk about how the issue affects their lives, and hear different perspectives that they might not hear in interest or age-based groups.  

So, are sermon-based small groups the only kinds of groups you’ll ever need at your church?  Probably not, but they’re a valuable addition for so many reasons!    

We would love to hear your takeaways from this!  What kind of groups are you using at your church?  Use the hashtag #hellochurchpod on any social media platform, or comment on Youtube!

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