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"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20, KJV).

What do we need to help us grow strong in character on our spiritual journey? Authentic relationships. We are created for life-giving relationships with God and others.

Throughout the four gospels, we see Jesus and the disciples serving, celebrating, ministering, and mourning together. We are privileged to read about this group of men on a journey to deepening friendships and growing character. Jesus and His disciples exemplify an effective small group—a collection of friends learning and growing together.

We all need people in our lives to support and encourage us. But it can be very difficult to enjoy this type of fellowship within a large group of people. However, we can build and grow authentic relationships within a small group environment!

A small group is a place where individuals can meet together on a consistent basis to have fun, build trusted friends, and grow in their personal and spiritual lives. They are a team of people who surround each other and cheer one another on.

Women yearn for belonging, and small groups can provide the atmosphere for the involvement and connection they crave. A small group also provides an effective place for training and biblical instruction. The body of Christ can offer something the world cannot—authentic, life-giving relationships.

Throughout this unit, we will explore simple tools that will assist you in forming a small group ministry. You will discover how to:

•    Prepare for small group ministry

•    Organize your small group ministry

•    Launch your small group ministry

Recommended Resources

Easum, Bill, and Atkinson, John. Go Big with Small Groups: Eleven Steps to an Explosive Small Group Ministry. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2008.

Searcy, Nelson, and Henson, Jennifer Dykes. Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups. Ada, MI: Baker Books, 2018. 

Searcy, Nelson, and Henson, Jennifer Dykes. Fusion: Turning First-time Guests into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church. Ada, MI: Baker Books, 2017. 

Stanley, Andy, and Willits, Bill.Creating Community: 5 Keys to Building a Small Group Culture. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2004. 

Osborne, Larry. Sticky Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008. 


About the Author

LACEY HARTMAN grew up in Wichita, Kansas, in a minister’s home. She feels extremely fortunate to have been raised in a home of authenticity. She has a passion to see individuals grow into fully devoted followers of Christ. Lacey graduated from Central Bible College and received her ministerial credentials in 2008. In May 2009, she accepted the role of Connections Director at North Point Church, Springfield, MO, where her husband, Troy, was the Student Ministries Director. Now they are lead pastors and church planters at Rock Hills Church, Manhattan, Kansas. Troy and Lacey are the parents of two daughters.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise marked, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblicia, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™


“A Leader's Guide to Forming Small Groups” is published by the National Women’s Department, www.women.ag.org, ©2020. Permission to reproduce is limited to personal use or within a teaching setting. All other forms of use are prohibited.