A Strategy for Growing Small Groups at Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach County, FL
Christ Fellowship is a mega-church in Palm Beach County, FL. Since the 1990s, most mega-churches have used small groups as places to bring new people to Christ, connect believers into community and develop new leaders. Unfortunately Christ Fellowship has long struggled with small groups and has been unable to experience anything other than short-term results in it attempts to grow its small group ministry. The purpose of this research is to develop a long-term strategy for growing small groups at Christ Fellowship in Palm Beach County, FL by understanding what missiological factors contribute to small group growth in its unique context and setting.
In my attempt to do this I read dozens of books about the missio Dei and about small group growth focusing on the five most popular models for small groups in the American church today. In order to determine what missiological factors contributed to small group growth at Christ Fellowship I collected data from a hundred small group leaders using a survey instrument and a series of semi-structured interviews. I then used an innovative approach to organizational change called the World Café to develop a long- term strategy for growing small groups at Christ Fellowship. To further refine this strategy I consulted the work of John P. Kotter and Jim Collins.
What I discovered is that the fastest growing groups were those that were committed to living out the missio Dei by practicing three missiological practices. The first was prayer (these groups were led by leaders who walked with God and had strong prayer lives). The second was evangelism (these groups were open to unbelievers and committed to relational evangelism). The third was hospitality (these groups were those that were committed to loving and serving the poor and to doing life together as a spiritual family). In order to implement this strategy for growing small groups at Christ Fellowship I will train new group leaders, coach existing group leaders and multiply groups that are committed to these three missiological practices.
Mentor: Elizabeth L. Glanville, PhD
Doctor of Missiology
Glanville, Elizabeth L.
Christ Fellowship (Palm Beach County, Fla.), Small groups, Protestant churches, Church group work, Missional church movement
Missions and World Christianity
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