Leading Small Groups – A Book Review

Chris Surrate has authored a book that navigates the small group implementation thoroughly.

The book is divided into 4 sections with each section covering separate points in the small group ministry life. There are chapters on starting, facilitating, logistics, and many more.

Section 1 delves into the first step of small group implementation – Gathering, In this section, which is divided into 4 chapters, the author goes over the initial items to consider such as, leadership qualities, purpose of the group, logistics, and group characteristics.

Section 2 takes us into the second step – Launching. In 2 chapters he reviews recruiting, advertising, covenants, and the characteristics of a good, Biblical group.

Section 3 deals with the actual leading of the group – Leading/Facilitation. Since this a critical part of the success of the small group, the author has devoted 6 chapters to this subject. He explains the importance of preparedness, hospitality, genuine authenticity, service, and how to develop a study that is Biblical.

Section 4 goes in-depth into the process of multiplying your small group – Multiplying Your Small Group. The small group should not be looking to add but to develop leaders that can branch-off and start their own small groups. There is also information about training new leaders/facilitators.

Having just experienced our church’s implementation of a Small Group Ministry, I can honestly say that this book earns 5 stars. This is a well written and researched book that can be used in conjunction with many resources to start a successful small group ministry at your church.

Purchase at link below:


I have received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

Fanning the Flame #21 More on Small Groups

Last Saturday a number of our members gathered to learn more about what our Small Group Task Force has been learning and planning.  Members of the task force and our pastor gave brief talks on topics such as:

  • The Biblical basis for small group ministry
  • The Importance of small groups
  • What small groups will look like at St. Paul’s
  • Qualities of small group facilitators
  • Group dynamics
  • Relationship evangelism
  • Doctrinal issues which may arise

and more!  There was plenty of time for questions and discussion.  There were some important take-aways.  One for me was:

Relational structures like Biblical small groups are an integral part of “being” the church and not just “doing” church.  The consumer mentality rampant in our culture has distorted our understanding of community.  People tend to focus on what they are going to get out of going to  church …. rather than what God is going to do in us and through us …

I hear many people talk about finding the right church which has the best programs and services that will help them.  Instead we need to remember that the best church is the one where we can serve effectively!

Another thing I learned is that a good small group facilitator does not have the same qualities as a good teacher.  Here are the differences:

Teaching                                                               Facilitating

Teaching                                                                Leading

Teacher Centered                                                  Student Centered

Passive for Group Members                                  Active for All

Ownership belongs to the Teacher                        Ownership is shared

Telling                                                                     Asking

I’ve always felt that although I can teach, it isn’t my strong point.  Now I know that my spiritual gifts make me a much more gifted facilitator.

We’re going to be forming a couple of “practice” groups that will meet and give participants a chance to try out being a facilitator, and also see the benefits that will affect all the participants.  I’m looking forward to being a part of that, and learning some things that will help me as one of the Adult Sunday School teachers (Sunday School is, after all, a small group).

Look for more as we proceed, and keep praying for us, readers!