How will your small group ministry grow in the new year? Whether you are starting new groups or re-starting existing groups, the Media Center has resources that you can use to make disciples through your small group ministry.
The United Methodist history of small groups goes all the way back to the original class meetings hosted by John and Charles Wesley. We must reclaim this important part of our heritage to fulfill our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
It is simple and easy to choose a book or DVD and discuss it with one another, but we can do more to build community with one another, grow as disciples, and take what we learn into the world.
The Media Center recommends the following resources for increasing the number of small groups, building community within those groups, and starting these groups on their discipleship journey. These resources can be borrowed by all clergy and laity of the NC Conference. We can even mail them to you.
Adding New Groups
Increasing the number of small groups at your church will create new spaces to grow disciples and strengthen bonds within your faith community.
Grab Gather Grow by Jim and Jennifer Cowart.
These United Methodist authors grew the number of small groups at their church from 75 to over 250 in seven years. In this resource, they reveal their five-part growth strategy that uses adaptive systems, digital tools, and flexible overhead. Read more about the book and DVD in our online catalog.
The Connected Life by Jacob Armstrong with Rachel Armstrong.
United Methodist Pastor Jacob Armstrong and his wife, Rachel, share how they have built the small-group ministry in their church to create a congregation that is welcoming and outward-looking. This short guidebook provides the nuts and bolts needed to start and to nurture your small group ministry. Read more about this book in our online catalog.
TeamWorks: Creating a Discipleship System by Craig Miller.
This series of books from Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church is designed to lead teams through revitalizing their churches. This book on creating a discipleship system has a very helpful session on small group ministry. Read more about this book in our online catalog.
Building Community in Your Groups
Once your groups are established, start them off right with one of these resources that will create strong bonds among group members and help them develop a sense of purpose and commitment. These resources would also provide a a fresh start to existing groups that may need some inspiration.
The Class Meeting by Kevin M. Watson.
United Methodist Professor Watson relates the history of the Methodist class meeting and its value for us today in this book that can be used as an 8-week curriculum. Watson provides the foundation, the basics, the job descriptions, and the keys to a thriving group with organized guides for discussion following each chapter. Read more about this book in our online catalog.
One by Nick Cunningham.
United Methodist Pastor Cunningham leads this DVD bible study to form your group into a modern version of a covenant discipleship group that encourages one another with determined guidelines and a set purpose. Group members will build community with each other and seek to better serve the community around them. Read more about the DVD, leader guide, and book, in our online catalog.
Making Your Small Group Work by Henry Cloud, Bill Donahue & John Townsend.
This practical DVD study by popular Christian authors and psychologists Cloud and Townsend leads groups through five steps to become grounded in the values that make for an effective group. The study ends with exercises to help the group plan for the future. Read more about this DVD and participant book in our online catalog.
Growing Disciples in Small Groups
Once your groups are established, give them the resources to journey along a path of discipleship.
Disciples Making Disciples by Steven W. Manskar
This book published by Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church is your handbook to creating a covenant discipleship group. These groups seek to re-create the class meeting as established by John and Charles Wesley with mutual support for one another in spiritual growth. Read more about this book in our online catalog.
A Disciple’s Path by James A. Harnish with Justin LaRosa.
This United Methodist study guides participants through the membership vows of our church to help them step into a life lived for Christ with a commitment to the local church. Participants will learn how to apply their own spiritual gifts to the service of God’s kingdom. Read more about this study kit in our online catalog.
The Wesleyan Way by Scott J. Jones.
United Methodist Bishop Jones presents discipleship from a Wesleyan perspective. Participants will learn Methodist history and theology and how to apply it to modern everyday living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Read more about this DVD study in our online catalog.
Bonus Prayer Book
When You Pray as a Small Group by Reuben P. Job and Sally D. Sharpe.
This handy booklet provides a session template and prayerwork ideas for five different types of small groups: discussion-based, activity-based, introspective, arts-focused, and habit breakers. Following the session template and/or incorporating prayerwork ideas into the life of your group will deepen prayer not only in the group but also for the individuals. Read more about this book in our online catalog.
Request These Resources
You may borrow any of these resources for use at your church. We can mail them to you! Simply fill out the Resource Request Form, or contact the Media Center with any questions. The NC Conference Media Center is open to all clergy and laity in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, free of charge.