spectrums for small groups

While I last posted on the variety of options you’ve got to think through to build a purposeful Large Group meeting, I thought I’d focus in a similar way today on small groups.

At one point in last weekend’s Campus for Christ Conference, I chatted with some gathered college ministers about these options for small groups. And I was quick to note that while many of these seem “binary” (you choose one or the other), that’s not true for most of them.

So as I asked last time, can you say you’ve deliberately made choices about your small groups along each of these lines?


Big, small, or somewhere in between? Size can affect fun, fellowship, commitment level of students, intimacy/accountability, and more.

Co-ed vs. Single-gender

Again, this choice affects a lot – and I would argue against anyone who says there’s for sure an obvious answer here. And don’t forget – some ministries offer men’s groups, women’s groups, and co-ed groups.

“Open” vs. “Closed”

This parlance from small group ministry world indicates whether a group accepts new members all along the way, or allows its membership to stay stable. Again, you can offer both kinds of groups, or you can offer a modified version of some sort, too. But like all these “spectrums,” this one affects how the group will run and what it can/will accomplish!


While you can’t always control these things, you can certainly set the tone. Have you made it clear to leaders what you’re hoping for?

Qualifications of Leaders

Some ministries raise up leaders based on proven leadership ability and/or character. Others raise up leaders based on potential ability and/or character. What’s your conviction, and are your small groups led that way?

All Groups Same vs. Differences

Do all small groups in your ministry do the same curriculum? Do they all look the same? Or are leaders picking curriculum and activities – maybe even the emphasis of the group – as they see fit?


Do all groups meet on the same day? Or different days? (Both options are common.) Same with time of day… and with that, do you offer any morning or mid-day small groups? And how long are your small groups encouraged to run? 30 minutes? 2 hours? Somewhere in between?

Membership “Splits”

Do you divide by class year? By topic? By some of the options listed above? Or are all groups filled with anyone?

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