Characteristics of Small Group for Discipleship

Empower Members to Be Leaders

Small group leaders should teach members how to cultivate their relationship with the Lord. They must seek His counsel first before approaching their small group leader. If the members are to do something against the Bible, then the leader can say something and correct it based on the word of God. Still, if the area in which the leader wants to speak up on is extrabiblical, then he should give his members the freedom to seek the Lord regarding their convictions.  

As a congregation, we need to be mindful about setting a culture that cultivates Biblical leadership. Ultimately, we need to provide a structure that small group leaders could follow. The system for small groups needs to have the same biblical standards. The church community must be on the same page when it comes to the essential doctrines of the faith. These are foundations for discipleship. Doing so allows this ministry can provide better support to their leaders.

Leaders, empower your small group members to become future leaders. The heart of discipleship is duplication. You want to see more leaders rise. There is something terribly wrong when leaders do not want to see members step up. Perhaps they want to remain the only leaders in the group.

What are Small Groups? 

There are many misconceptions about Small Groups. Even though people socialize in small or cell groups, it is never intended to be just a social gathering. It is not a home meeting, even if the group meets in their homes. It is not intended for charity, although the members can do outreach and charitable acts. A small group is also not another church program neither a separate church service, but there can be singing, praying, and delivering of message within the group. 

Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, the largest Protestant church globally, characterized small groups as a basic part of the church and not just another church program. Small groups have a limited size, usually not more than 15 individuals or families of the same background. It has a definite goal, set by the church pastors and ministers. Moreover, it has definite leaders who are trained for discipleship. 


Homogeneity, meaning likeness or being similar in kind, is considered one successful characteristic for small groups. Pastor Yonggi Cho believes that churches will grow if they minister to similar groups of people.  Over time, they found that small groups based upon homogeneity were more successful than small groups based primarily on their geographical locations. They have discovered that individuals grouped based on geographical considerations alone are like bringing people together with very little in common. Thus, it takes more time and energy to develop a feeling of oneness among its members, and achieving the main purpose of small groups, which is reaching the lost and caring for the sheep, is not that effective.

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