SMALL GROUPS & Why Do Small Groups Matter in Larger Churches? #WarrenBird #ScottThumma

By Warren Bird, 6/29/15.

Churches grow larger by getting smaller. That’s one of many findings in a survey of some 25,000 megachurch attenders that fellow researcher Scott Thumma and I conducted, writing Not Who You Think They Are (free download) to highlight our findings.

One of the key points: large churches are very intentional about helping people find their identity in some kind of group or team. Some 60% of attenders say they are involved in one or more groups (see graphic), a percentage that’s growing. In an earlier survey back in 2000, just half (50%) of the megachurches said small groups were central to their strategy for Christian nurture and spiritual formation. By 2008, that number had risen to a strong majority (84%) of megachurches affirming the centrality of a small group strategy.

What type of group draws the most participants? Religious education and spiritual growth groups attracted approximately a quarter of megachurch attenders, while service, recovery and fellowship type small groups accounted for no more than 10% to 20% of attenders.


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