Don’t Rush Small Group Evangelism

This week, we launched a new small group aimed for people who don’t go to church.

For our small group, 13 people showed up for the first meeting, 7 of whom I had never met before.

This was the 1st of 6 meetings, and I was not leading the group.

From the conversations prior to the group starting and even during the discussion time, it became clear that 6 of those 7 are probably not followers of Christ.

As an evangelist, I’m excited when there are people are willing to engage their spiritual thirst in a small group, where hopefully they will

  • have space to ask their questions,
  • challenge the Christians to think, and
  • earnestly seek out the truth that is being presented via the video, discussion, or readings.

Things go off track

But during the discussion time, I watched the Christians in the group begin

  • to preach
  • to not listen to the questions being asked
  • to not even let the questions go unanswered at this time.

The leaders called me the next day, wondering if the invited guests will come back.

He too felt uncomfortable at the apparent pushiness of some of the other Christians in the group.

The Christians had become a verbal fire hydrant of truth, ready to convince someone that they have to follow Jesus.

While there were no arguments, the discussion did get loud and the pace of speech got rapid, as it normally does when there is some tension.

People began to talk over one another and verbally retreat into their corners of “rightness.”

In other words, where was the patience to trust the Holy Spirit?

In the rush to present the gospel, several potential bridges of trust were broken.

Waiting on the Holy Spirit’s work

Pre-Christian people making the first steps to come to a Christian small group are demonstrating a step of faith on their part.

To some extent, that is a reflection of their spiritual thirst.  It tells me they are open to studying spiritual things and perhaps might actually seek a relationship with Christ.

Small groups can be a wonderful place to explore the truth, consider the claims of Jesus, and wrestle with those claims.

Small groups give people time.  Small groups give the Holy Spirit time.

Time to

  • Consider the new information being shared in the teaching
  • Clear up misconceptions about God.
  • Trust Christians (as many have likely encountered aggressive evangelists).
  • Be willing to surrender to Christ.

This doesn’t happen in one 45 minute meeting unless the Holy Spirit has already brought a sinner to conviction.  If that is the case, it is usually obvious a person is ready to surrender to faith.

Small groups provide that time and space, and I’ve seen many people become Christians within 4-6 weeks of joining a group where they finally trust the people in it and realize they can ask their questions without getting a sermon in response.


I know the urgency of the gospel, particularly since none of us are guaranteed our next breath.

But I’ve also seen that we need to give seekers space to discover and learn.

In a small group environment full of strangers, the seeker needs to know if the small group will be a safe place for them to search and ask questions.

Unfortunately, our first meeting did not live up to this.

I go back to the drawing board and seek God to draw the entire group back.

Let me ask you this?

What advice would you give this small group leader to better prepare for the next meeting? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Image Credit: MorgueFile

Webinar: You can Double Your Small Groups

I’ve prepared a video for you. Excuse the background construction noise though.  For you who are really attentive to details, I know I gave Josh’s book the wrong title. It’s really titled

“You can Double Your Class in Two Years or less. “

Scroll down the page and see the register button, more descriptions, and your 10% coupon code for getting Josh’s material online.

Josh Hunt Double Your Groups

Free Webinar

Date: Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time: 3:00pm Eastern US Time

(Calculate for your time zone)

Registration is Closed


You Can Double Your Groups Webinar

Most all churches have small group ministry or Sunday school program.  Yet many of these groups are closed to newcomers, or haven’t grown in size.

We all know the power of exponential multiplication.

  • 1 group grows to 2
  • 2 groups grow to 4
  • 4 groups grow to 8
  • 8 to 16 and so on.

Yet we also haven’t really seen that happen in our lifetime.  The multiplication system often breaks down after the first split.

Josh Hunt has a system that churches can use that breaks out of the cycle of aborted multiplication.  He has written about it, and as a pastor, he has used it, and has recorded video testimony of several churches that have implemented his You Can Double material.

Who is Josh Hunt?

Josh is nationally known for his ability to lead churches to double their small group attendance.

Josh Hunt is the new pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Salem New Mexico. Hunt has been a Minister of Education in addition to consulting nationwide. He also writes Sunday School helps in a format he calls Good Question which he publishes on the Internet to correspond with two of Lifeway’s curriculum outlines.

Hunt is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Wayland University. Hunt’s a creative thinker and an energetic speaker whose passion is to see people come to know and enjoy God. He has spoken at some of the leading churches in America, has authored 7 books and produced 7 video series.

Josh joins the EvangelismCoach Webinar series to discuss practical ways you can DOUBLE OUR GROUP SIZE so our churches will grow.

SP09-CC05CouponNonCCHdrBuy Josh’s Material

His material is available for sale at

Use the coupon code 7001 in the shopping cart and 10% off your order.

Any purchase through the website with this coupon code that you make will help support the work of

Churches can buy a license to use the material, and individuals can purchase their own stuff.

Registration is Free, but required.

Date doesn’t work for you?

To be automatically informed as to our next webinar, signup for our Free Evangelism Newsletter and the a 5 part course on Church Hospitality.