This podcast is designed to help you Take the Guesswork Out of Groups. In each episode you will discover effective ways to recruit more leaders, form better groups, and make more disciples.

Guests to this monthly podcast will include small group and discipleship experts like Carl George, Dr. Warren Bird, Steve Gladen, Mark Howell, Dr. Bill Donahue, Bill Willits, Chris Surratt, and many others. Our guests will also include some pastors you’ve never heard of who are doing amazing things with their small groups.

Our goal is to encourage and inspire you as you “go and make disciples.” We will look at the tried and true models of small group ministry and discipleship, and we will also take a look at some emerging models that are showing early results.

The Exponential Groups Podcast is a member of the Lumivoz Podcast Network.

Case study:  Mountainview Christian Church, Gresham, Oregon is a legacy church with a newly growing small group ministry. Founded in 1969, this 53-year-old church reached a peak in the 1990’s using the attractional ministry model. Since then, their attendance has waned over the years, and then COVID hit. As a way to build for the future, the pastors and elders chose to pursue small groups in a big way over the last year. 

In this interview with both Lead Pastor, Tom Santillanes and Discipleship Pastor, Craig Ziese, you will hear how Mountainview created their own curriculum with a largely volunteer team, recruited more group leaders than they ever have, and connected a record number of people into groups including many who have never worshipped at the church!

Key Resource: The Exponential Groups Book and Workbook.

Larry Osborne is a Teaching Pastor and Kingdom Ambassador at North Coast Church in Vista, CA, helping to oversee its growth from 128 to over 13,000 in weekend attendance with 7 local campuses.

A sought-after trainer of pastors, leaders, and church planters, he has been acclaimed as one of the most influential and innovative pastors in America for pioneering such concepts as sermon-based small groups, pastoral teaching teams, video venues, and multisite churches. His fingerprints are found on churches throughout the world.

Larry’s leadership books include: Lead Like A Shepherd, Sticky Church, Sticky Teams, Sticky Leaders, Mission Creep, and The Unity Factor.

Larry holds both a Master of Divinity and Doctorate degree from Talbot Theological Seminary.  He and his wife, Nancy, live in Oceanside, CA. They have three married children and eight grandchildren. For more information on Larry’s ministry, go to:

Lance Witt is the founder of REPLENISH ministries. Replenish is dedicated to helping people in ministry live and lead from a healthy soul. Along with speaking and consulting Lance does Life Plans, individual life coaching, and team development.  Lance has a brand new book called Your ONE Life: Own it, Live it, Love it.  He is also the author of Replenish and High Impact Teams. Lance served 20 years as a senior pastor before serving 7 years as an Executive/ Teaching pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He led Saddleback’s Spiritual Growth Campaigns, such as 40 Days of Purpose and 40 Days of Community.

 Lance has been married to his wife Connie for 43 years and they have two married children and four beautiful granddaughters. 

Michel Hendricks is the co-author with Dr. Jim Wilder of The Other Half of Church: Christian Community, Brain Science and Overcoming Spiritual Stagnation. He is the director of transformational consulting at Life Model Works. He is the former pastor of spiritual formation at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, CO. He has also served in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda. He and his wife have three adult children.

Get the Episode 14 Show Notes Here.

Heather Zempel serves as the Discipleship Pastor and Ministries Director at National Community Church in Washington, DC. With a background in biological engineering and experience as a policy advisor in the United States Senate, she brings a unique perspective to ministry, leadership, and discipleship. Heather is the author of several books including the most recent, Amazed and Confused and Big Change, Small Groups. She loves football, BBQ, and having adventures with her husband Ryan and fun-loving daughter Sawyer Elizabeth.

 Get the Episode 13 Show Notes

In This Episode, Allen Answers Listener Questions About…

How can you help new groups to continue? (2:07)

How do you make coaching work? (6:43)

Should virtual groups become home groups? (14:01)

How to inspire small group participation? (18:48)

 Get the Episode 12 Show Notes

After working with P&G and PNC Financial Corp., Dr. Bill Donahue pastored in churches in Pennsylvania and Texas. He then joined the Willow Creek Community Church & Association (aka Global Leadership Network) for 18 years as Director of Group Life and Leadership, training leaders in the US and globally.

Bill has authored over a dozen resources including the best-selling Leading Life-changing Small Groups and Coaching Life-Changing Leaders.



Get the Episode 11 Show Notes

Nick Lenzi has been helping people belong as the Community Director at Hoboken Grace Church in Hoboken, NJ since 2009. Prior to joining Hoboken Grace full time, he was an analyst on Wall Street at an investment bank. He is also the host of the show Reading Lenz which airs on the Group Talk Podcast on the 4th Wednesday of each month. 



Get the Episode 10 Show Notes

Bill Willits is the Executive Director of Adult Ministry Environments for North Point Ministries. One of the founding staff members of North Point, Bill is a graduate of Florida State University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also the co-author of the book, Creating Community with Andy Stanley, which was recently re-released in an updated and expanded edition. Bill and his team have helped connect thousands of adults into the benefits of group life.



Get the Episode 9 Show Notes

Phil Cooke has a unique resume. He has a PhD in Theology and is an active producer in Hollywood. Phil was Executive Producer of “Let Hope Rise – the Hillsong Movie” released to theaters nationwide, and Producer of “The Insanity of God” a feature documentary that premiered nationally as a Fathom Event. He is the founder of the Cooke Media Group and is the author of several books including his most recent book, Maximize Your Influence: How to Make Digital Media Work for Your Church, Your Ministry, and You.



Get the Episode 8 Show Notes

Carolyn Taketa is the Small Groups Pastor and a member of the Executive Team at Calvary Community Church, Westlake Village, California. Her responsibilities include leadership development, vision, strategies, and curriculum. She is a former attorney with a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley Law School, who has been leading small groups for over thirty years. She is a contributing author for Disciples’ Path from Lifeway Christian Resources, part of the editorial advisory team at Christianity Today’s, and host of GroupTalk: Here to There monthly podcast for the global Small Group Network. Carolyn, her husband Donn, and their two daughters have been part of Calvary since 2001



Get the Episode 7 Show Notes

Mark Richardson is the Life Pastor at San Diego Rock Church, where he has served for 15 years. Rock Church has over 500 small groups and saw their groups increase by 211% in 2020. Prior to the Rock Church, Mark served as a board member and executive director at the Jireh Ministries Foundation and was an intern with the Christian Embassy to the United Nations. He holds a MA in Pastoral Studies from Azusa Pacific and an MBA from Point Loma.

Get the Episode 6 Show Notes

Monica Lee is the Community & Discipleship Pastor at Radiant Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Radiant Church, led by Senior Pastor, Lee M. Cummings, is a multi-site church and is the parent of the Radiant Network of Churches.

Monica began her career in corporate America before transitioning into ministry staff. She is a life-long Michigander, and she loves to spend time with Matt, her husband of 19 years, and their two teenage children: Gavin and Taylor. Together, they share a love for family time, travel, and adventure!

Get the Episode 5 Show Notes

Elliot Diaz has served at Manna Church, Fayetteville/ Fort Bragg since March 2013. He has served as the Small Groups Pastor, and is currently the Site Pastor of the Cliffdale Site and is a member of the Lead Team. Manna Church is a multi-site church of over 2800 people in weekly attendance led by Senior Pastor, Michael Fletcher. Elliot is a 19 year Army veteran, who currently serves as a Chaplain in the North Carolina National Guard.

Get the Episode 4 Show Notes

Chip Ingram is the teaching pastor and CEO of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip is the author of many books, including Holy AmbitionDiscover Your True SelfTrue SpiritualityThe Real GodThe Invisible Warand the soon to be released book: Yes, You Really Can Change. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.

Get the Episode 3 Show Notes

Jay Kranda is the Online Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, where he oversees an online community with online small groups and homes groups around the globe. He is the co-author of the free ebooks “State of the Online Church” and “Going Beyond Online Streaming.” Jay is addicted to NBA basketball and cold brew coffee. He has a B.A. in Christian Education and M.A. in Theology from Biola University. Jay and his wife, Jody have 2 boys and a girl.

Episode 2 Show Notes

Warren Bird is the vice president of research and equipping at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Just prior to his work at ECFA, Warren served for 13 years at Leadership Network. He is the author or co-author of 33 books including Hero Maker with Dave Ferguson, How to Break Church Growth Barriers with Carl George, Next: Pastoral Succession that Works with William Vanderbloemen and Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work with Jim Tomberlin. Warren is widely recognized as one of the nation’s experts on megachurches. As @lensweet tweeted, “No one knows more about megachurches than @warrenbird.”

Episode 1 Show Notes