Engaging Attenders in Small Groups

“Life change happens in circles, not rows.” — Pastor Andy Stanley

As pastors and church leaders, we know the importance of biblical community, but sometimes it can be challenging to get attenders plugged into small groups.

We know strong small groups start with strong small group leaders, but how do you get attenders connected in small groups?

Engaging Attenders in Small Groups

Here are a few tips we’ve found helpful in engaging attenders in community through small groups:

Model biblical community. If you want your church engaged in small groups, you and your staff should be in small groups, too. Talk about your small group, and let people know what that connection means to you and your walk with Christ.

Cast vision for community. Sadly, more and more friendships are set aside to make room for all the things we must do to “adult.” During sermons, time on stage, and one-on-one conversations, remind attenders about the importance of community with other Christians.

Promote small groups in your church with free promo videos—from funny to straightforward—from the Open Network.



Preach about community. Biblical community isn’t a new concept; in the first few hundred years of the Church, small groups were basically the only way the church gathered. People would meet on their own to fellowship, learn, and grow. Plan an upcoming sermon or sermon series about relationships and connection. Friending and #struggles are great sermon outlines to download free from the Open Network.

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” — Pastor Craig Groeschel

Host a community event. A great way to engage more attenders in small groups is to host an event that introduces people to short-term groups. Sisters, our women’s ministry event, and Wild Life, a men’s ministry event and small group curriculum, can drive small group attendance in your church. Or, engage parents in community with “12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid” from Dr. Tim Elmore. The goal with events like these is to help people find a short-term small group that lets them see the value and fun of being in community without any long-term commitment.

Get practical about community. Here at Life.Church, we’ve found a few practical ways that have helped attenders overcome the fear of attending a small group.

  • Create an area in your lobby with listings of the small groups in your church. Watch this training, and learn how we invite small group leaders to volunteer in the lobby and connect attenders with a group.
  • Introduce the new small group leaders in your church on your social media pages. Just by seeing the friendly face of your new leaders, an attender is more likely to feel comfortable trying out the group.
  • Make sure your attenders know that it’s okay to “date a small group.” Encourage them to try a few out before they decide which group is the best fit for them.

Small Groups Training

Want even more insight into what has worked for small groups at Life.Church? Watch our free training videos on our training page.

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