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Small Groups With Purpose

Author:  Steve Gladen
ISBN:  9780801014956
Publisher:  Baker Books
Year of Publication:  2011
Pages:  235
Free sample chapter

Price$23.99 $25.19 with TAX
Make small groups work in your church!

Over the past fifteen years, small groups have become a vital way to build community in large churches. Nowhere has this been more apparent than at Saddleback Church. Now Steve Gladen, pastor of small groups at Saddleback, shares the secrets of that ministry's incredible success in creating small groups with purpose.

This practical book walks church leaders through the questions they need to answer to develop their own intentional small group strategy. Built around the most commonly asked questions, Small Groups with Purpose outlines the step-by-step process of creating a successful small group ministry. Because it is built upon principles and not methods, this plan can be implemented in any size church. Each chapter ends with a list of questions for readers to answer to help them assess their current situation and their desires for the future. Personal stories, Scripture, and examples ground the discussion and show the system in action.

Pastors and small group leaders will find this book instrumental in making small groups work in their churches.


What Is a Healthy and Balanced Small Group?

1.  My Story:  And What It Has Taught Me about Ministry
2.  The Saddleback Difference:  The Ten Foundations of Saddleback's Small Group Ministry
3.  What Did We Learn from the Book of Acts?  The Paradigm Shift

What Does This Look Like?

4.  Is Your Vision Blurry?  Define Success Clearly
5.  It All Starts with Community:  Build a Foundation for Health and Balance
6.  Leading for Spiritual Formation:  How to Create a Church of Disciples, Not Attendees
7.  Don't Lead Alone:  Mobilize Your Groups from Sitting to Serving
8.  The Church with No Walls:  Opening the Doors of Your Church
9.  More than Music:  Worship in the Life of Your Groups

Step-by-Step, How Can I Do This?

10.  Spiritual Health Assessment:  Living Life on Purpose
11.  Helping Groups Become Healthier:  Provide a Clear Pathway for Members to Follow
12.  Leadership Matters:  Selecting and Recruiting Leaders
13.  The Road Ahead:  Developing a Simple Training Pathway
14.  Laying the Foundation:  Developing an Organizational Infrastructure That Works

What Does This Mean for Overall Church Strategy?

15.  Sunday School and / or Small Groups:  Understanding How Groups Fit into Your Church
16.  Making the Most of Every Opportunity:  How to Increase Connection
17.  Exponential Power:  Unleashing the Force of the Campaign Strategy

Do I Have What It Takes?

18.  Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me:  Lessons from My Journey


"In this long-awaited book, Saddleback's brilliant pastor of small groups the biblical strategy, the secrets, the failures, and the lessons behind the remarkable growth of our small groups.  Saddleback may possibly be the only church in America that consistently has thousands more people attend weekly Bible Study in groups than attend our weekend services.  So much of that is due to the genius of Steve Gladen, a pastor with a passionate heart for Jesus and his body."

 - Rick Warren, author, The Purpose Driven Life and the Purpose Driven Church

"You absolutely must put a copy of Steve Gladen's book into the hands of your small group leadership.  Steve Gladen sees growth happen year in and year out as he marshals support for the leaders of more that 3,500 small groups.  This book relates his learnings from over thirteen years of his Saddleback experience.  The wisdom he shares here is a gift." 

- Carl George, founder, Consulting for Growth, Inc.

"Whether your church is pioneering a new approach or you've been at it for years, this book has insight for establishing a sound approach to small group ministry, built on Steve's extensive experience.  You will find his book practical and encouraging."

- Ed Stetzer, coauthor, Transformational Church

Average Customer Rating: 5 based on 1 reviews. Write a review.

Dennis Funk (Guest)
Small groups of purpose and faith!
You would think that someone who heads a church of 3500 small groups would have written a book much sooner than this year and written it as if you should follow what they did. Well Steve Gladen doesn’t seem to be come across as some ministry guru’s do – for which I am glad! Small Groups with Purpose was written by Gladen to help churches think through their small group ministry strategy. Over the years he has been asked some frequently asked questions – and that’s how he has sorted the content. Questions such as: What is a healthy and balanced small group?, What does that look like? What are the steps? How does this fit the larger church strategy? And finally – Do I have what it takes? These are questions that most small group point leaders are asking or will ask. One of the strengths of the book are the many excellent self-assessment questions he uses to end each chapter. Throughout the book - he continually goes to the principles and values he believes are the foundation to Saddleback’s success with small groups. Gladen illustrates these not with just the stories of success, but also the learnings from failures. Some portions of the book can be read like a “case study” which I find to be very helpful to my own learnings.

You may not agree with the model of small group ministry that Saddleback has developed – I know I have difficulty in some areas – however the majority of the content does deal with principles and values that need to be evident in every small group ministry. Saddleback has determined they will be clear about theirs. Most churches continue to struggle to form their own. Reading and processing through Small Groups with Purpose will move your church closer to clarity and action. Like similar books, it would be worth reading through this book with at least one other ministry partner. A book with ideas you can't ignore!
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