MEGACHURCHES & Report discovers they continue to grow as they emphasize small groups, embrace modern worship and diversify, but steer clear of politics.

by Bob Smietana, Relcion News Service. A pre-pandemic, national survey of megachurches from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research found the median megachurch draws about 4,100 attenders to its worship services, up from about 3,700 in 2015.  The average megachurch budget … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & How Small Groups Help Any Church Survive by @BobWhitesel published by @BiblicalLeader Magazine.

By Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., Biblical Leadership Magazine, 09/12/18. “You can tell we hate to leave,” began Margaret. “It’s just that this sanctuary is such a comfortable place.” “It wasn’t always like this,” interjected Mark. “Dark, dank … smelly. The … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & Why A Growing Church Stays as Small As Possible #Video

QUOTE: “Small groups are one of the most important structures in the church for discipleship.” Bob Whitesel. VIDEO of Bob Whitesel Ph.D., Oct. 2012 at the Conference, Nashville, TN. Published by For more info see Cure for the Common … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & A Leadership Exercise To Discover Why People Dislike Them

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/29/15. Most people intuitive understand that accountability and discipleship take place in small, intimate groups (e.g. Jesus’ twelve disciples or Wesley’s band meetings).  And, I have some to believe that small groups are probably the … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & How to Prevent Burn Out Because of Too Many Group Meetings

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/9/15 Can there be too much of a good thing?  Yes.  I have observed a recurring misstep with small groups is to have too many meetings (with too little spiritual formation). A student once tendered a very … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & Should You Close Small Groups? Not unless absolutely necessary.

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/9/15. A student after studying my chapter and chart on “Missteps With Small Groups” in Growth by Accident, Death by Planning (Abingdon Press) said, “I believe we should re-assess all of our small groups and find … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & Should We Be Birthing (or Celling) New Groups? Yes!

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/9/15. Over the years I’ve discovered that using the terms “cell groups” (e.g. leadership teams or discipleship groups) or “celling” too often confuses people because it insinuates that small groups of leaders or small groups for … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & 3 Facets of Well Rounded Small Groups

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/6/15. Sometimes people wonder about the content and foci of small groups.  While small groups come in all styles, types, environments and characteristics; in my experience they are healthy when then all possess three Biblical commonalities. … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & Grow A Small Church by Multiplying Its Small Groups

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/6/15. We all want to know how to grow a small church.  And, after coaching hundreds of small churches, the key to their growth is usually organically growing their small groups.  Let me explain. A student … Continue reading

NEED MEETING & How the Holmes-Rahe Scale Gets Small Groups & Teams Involved In Need-meeting

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/6/15. Did you know that you can create outreach-orientated small groups and teams that will not only get more volunteers involved, but also meet the needs of those outside of the congregation?  I call these “need-based … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & A Case Study of How One Mega-church Pastor/Student Created Oldenburg’s “Third Place”

by Bob Whitesel, 6/7/15. In a related posting, I discussed the importance of churches providing what Ray Oldenburg (1991, 1999) calls a “third place.”  An urban sociologist, Oldenburg suggests that people desire a “third social space” that is different from … Continue reading

WESLEY & How to Create Accountability in Small Groups

by Bob Whitesel, 3/5/15 I’ve found that often times small groups lack an accountability function and instead mutate into venues in which people “don’t want to hurt any feelings” (and true accountability does happen). But, there are questions that can … Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS & Should They Be Homogeneous or Heterogeneous?

by Bob Whitesel, April 7, 2009. The following are questions tendered by a previous student and my responses.  They reflect some of innovative ways we can expand our small group systems today. The student said: “You mentioned when a group … Continue reading