Planning Small Groups with Purpose

A Field-Tested Guide to Design and Grow Your Ministry

Cover Art

Where to Purchase

More Options

About

Practical and proven small group strategies that work

Small groups are a great way to promote the spiritual formation of church attendees. But leading them well can be hard work, especially if you don't have a plan. Planning Small Groups with Purpose helps you develop and implement a twelve- to eighteen-month strategic plan for your ministry in order to keep it healthy and growing. You'll answer twenty questions that help you

· articulate your vision
· understand the purpose of your ministry
· connect members
· grow numerically and spiritually
· measure progress
· develop leaders
· create opportunities to serve
· and much more

By the time you're done, you will have developed your own personalized planner for the next year to eighteen months so that you can feel prepared, confident, and purposeful about your small group ministry.

Developed at Saddleback Church, this completely customizable plan works for any church size, any denomination, and any church culture.

"No single person or book has had more influence on my small group philosophy than Steve Gladen. This is a book that you and your team will return to over and over!"--Chris Surratt, small group and discipleship specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources; author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us

"If you've ever wanted to take a peek into how Saddleback plans for their successful small group ministry, this is your chance. Gladen sprinkles strategic questions throughout to help the small group point person think and plan for their own ministries based on their church culture. A really helpful resource!"--Amy Jackson, associate publisher of SmallGroups.com


Steve Gladen has been pastor of small groups at Saddleback Church since 1998 and serves as an elder of the church. He oversees the strategic launch and spiritual development of more than 7,000 adult small groups on multiple campuses. He is the author of Small Groups with Purpose and Leading Small Groups with Purpose. He has a driving passion to see each church attendee connected to a qualified shepherd and become an integral part of their church body, living purposefully for Christ. Learn more at www.stevegladen.com.


Endorsements

"No single person or book has had more influence on my small group philosophy than Steve Gladen and his first book, Small Groups with Purpose. I am so thankful that Steve has now taken those concepts and given us a practical guide in Planning Small Groups with Purpose for implementing them in our ministries. This is a book that you and your team will return to over and over!"

Chris Surratt, small group and discipleship specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources; author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us

"If you've ever wanted to take a peek into how Saddleback plans for their successful small group ministry, this is your chance. Gladen sprinkles strategic questions throughout to help the small group point person think and plan for their own ministries based on their church culture. A really helpful resource!"

Amy Jackson, associate publisher of SmallGroups.com

"Small group leaders and those who support them are faced with a daunting task: how to find the wisdom to deal with problems that differ from group to group and leader to leader. What they wouldn't give to be at the elbow of a man who is in continual contact with hundreds of small group pastors as they bring their challenges and dilemmas to him! With this book, Steve Gladen, held by many to be the outstanding developer of small groups, invites you to see what he sees as group systems are put together and problems are resolved. For the beginner, he lays out a step-by-step approach. For the advanced leader, he gives a floor plan that allows immediate focusing on one or another aspect of a group's issues. No small group department should be without copies of this comprehensive and practical guide. This is the tool that can be shared with every level of leader in a small group system."

Carl George, author of Nine Keys to Effective Small Group Leadership

"This book provides an exceptionally useful, encouraging, and challenging combination of wisdom, visionary perspective, and lots of practical planning tools. These can help to nourish and develop small group leaders and quality programs, producing healthy, spiritually balanced, vitally focused small groups that are critically important in the life and ministry of any congregation. A much-needed planning and implementation resource for the serious leader in small group ministry."

Rev. Dr. Roberta Hestenes, teaching pastor, Bayside Church, California; former Fuller Seminary faculty member and president of Eastern University

"Do not just read this book. Work it. Implement, measure, assess. Question everything. Repeat. In Planning Small Groups with Purpose, Steve Gladen outlines a process for designing a group model and strategy that are uniquely fitted to your church. If you are just looking for easy answers, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for the right questions to lead you to the most relevant answers, then gather your team, open this book, and grab a pen. Planning Small Groups with Purpose isn't just a onetime read; it is a manual that will serve you for years to come."

Heather Zempel, discipleship pastor, National Community Church; author of Community Is Messy and Amazed and Confused

"I love Steve's work because it is always rooted in experience, forged in the crucible of real group life with dedicated leaders, and readily used or adapted in other churches. Mine this resource for all you can get!"

Dr. Bill Donahue, president of The LeaderSync Group; associate professor, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"This book is chock-full of both practical experience and deep insight. Steve Gladen has been leading small groups at Saddleback for twenty years. He knows what he's talking about. Yet he repeatedly exhorts the readers to follow principles, not models, and to understand their own cultural context. You'll find practical steps in each chapter to guide you along your small group journey. The section 'Saddleback's Top Ten Small Group Ministry Commitments' is worth the price of the book. Here's a taste: 'I will steer clear of the numbers game,' 'I will avoid the comparison trap,' and 'It is sinful to feel superior to another church or ministry.' Get ready to deepen your small group understanding as you read the pages of this very insightful book. Thanks, Steve, for sharing your years of practical, successful small group experience."

Joel Comiskey, PhD, president of Joel Comiskey Group, www.joelcomiskeygroup.com; author of Groups That Thrive

"Once again my friend Steve Gladen has provided another helpful resource for those of us in the trenches of group life. Reading and thoughtfully applying Planning Small Groups with Purpose to your local context might just be the most important things you'll do this year for your groups ministry."

Bill Willits, executive director of Ministry Environments, North Point Ministries; coauthor of Creating Community

"It has been many years since a book arrived that mixed small group foundations with a practical how-to guide. This book will walk you through important decisions as you build a groups ministry full of purpose. Steve is no mere philosopher of groups but a veteran with a proven track record for building one of the most life-changing small group ministries in modern times. If you are leading the charge of community, you must devour this book."

Bill Search, author of The Essential Guide for Small Group Leaders

"This is an invaluable resource for all small group point people who want to propel their ministry to the next level. With insightful questions, biblical principles, practical ideas, and actionable content, Steve guides you through a meticulous process of defining, creating, planning, and developing a thriving small group ministry. This is a great tool to use with your ministry team to home in on the vision, strategy, and tactics for growing a discipleship culture through healthy small groups in your church."

Carolyn Taketa, small groups pastor, Calvary Community Church

"Empowering the people of God to fulfill the great commandment and the Great Commission through small groups is by far the best way to achieve these two biblical mandates. In Planning Small Groups with Purpose, Steve provides a field-tested and practical implementation process that covers every aspect of launching and expanding healthy, missional groups. If your church, lead pastor, and you are ready to become the kind of church that makes disciples who in turn make disciples, this book's process is a great source of guidance."

Randall G. Neighbour, author of The Naked Truth about Small Group Ministry; president of TOUCH Outreach Ministries, Houston, Texas

"Steve once again offers an amazing resource for building small groups, all flowing from his three decades of experience. This book is not just a how-to manual; in true Steve form, it also gives thoughtful insights to assure that your small group model aligns with the heart and purpose of your church's overall ministry. No matter what small group model you have, this is a vital resource to help you assess what it takes to create, develop, and maintain life-changing groups in your context!"

Dave Enns, lead groups pastor, North Coast Church

"Planning Small Groups with Purpose presents the step-by-step process that has shaped small groups for many churches. This book provides a guide to plan for small groups, train leaders, and implement these groups in a congregation. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I have seen it work."

Hamp Greene, associate pastor, Church of the Highlands, Birmingham, Alabama

"The perfect evocation of purpose and passion, executed brilliantly. A book for the ages."

Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth Books

"It is impossible for any of us to experience spiritual growth without trusted relationships in our lives, and small groups are the best place for each person in our churches to find those relationships. In Planning Small Groups with Purpose, Steve will show you how leveraging your church's unique culture and structure is the key to making your small groups thrive."

Jeff Galley, central LifeGroups and missions pastor, Life.Church


The Author

  1. Steve Gladen

    Steve Gladen

    Steve Gladen (MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary) has been executive pastor of small groups at Saddleback Church since 1998 and serves as an elder of the church. He oversees the strategic launch and spiritual development of more than 7,000 adult small groups on...

    Continue reading about Steve Gladen


Resources