The Exponential Groups Workbook is a helpful tool for pastors and church staff to act on the principles of the Exponential Groups book. With the original book, readers learned how to connect their “unconnected” members into community, recruit small group leaders, maintain current discipleship strategies, and implement new strategies to keep their churches strong and healthy. Now with this workbook, they can continue this work and take it to the next level.
This workbook contains updated material, church success stories, and practical exercises to plan and execute these proven methods. In an effort to help take the guesswork out of groups, the workbook contains samples and actual examples of job descriptions, timelines, leader recruiting tools, promotional materials, and other pieces essential to a successful group launch. This workbook can be used as a self-study tool for pastors and church staff, or as a companion to Allen White’s online courses and live in-person training events. Move from inspiration to implementation with this helpful workbook.
What Pastors are Saying about the Exponential Groups Workbook:
“Allen White stands at the forefront of small group ministry. His coaching brings you to the cutting edge of small group ministry and helps you connect countless people to authentic Christian community.” — Michael Hayes, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Orange, CA
“If you are looking to expand your knowledge about small groups and breathe new life into your small group ministry this is the workbook you have been waiting for! Not only will Allen give you the tools you need to be successful in your ministry, but he will also walk you through the process step by step. Thank you, Allen, for changing our small group approach and for your expertise.” — Jerry McQuay, Christian Life Church, Tinley Park, IL
“I’ve been a pastor in the Miami area for nearly forty years, and in that time, I have had the great honor to be trained by Allen White in coaching exponential groups. Allen is extremely professional and strategic in his approach to coaching, and my time with him was instrumental in the growth of our groups as well as our recruiting of new group leaders.” — Rudy Rivero, New Dawn Church, Miami, FL
What giving up control taught me about effective group ministry
By Allen White
I hear a lot of pastors who debate the need for a quality experience at the expense of connecting and growing the vast majority of their congregations and their communities into their group system. I also hear the reverse of this which is in order to embrace a large quantity of groups, then quality must somehow be sacrificed.
We approach ministry as if we have all of the time in the world. Somehow we think our people will live forever, and so will the people our people need to reach for Christ. But, let’s be honest, we don’t have the luxury of time.
The Apostle Paul didn’t have the luxury of time either. Reviewing his journeys in the Book of Acts, Paul never spent more than 6-18 months in any one location, yet in his quest to spread the Gospel throughout the known world and to reach Spain, he put leaders in place everywhere he planted a church, then gave them the crash course on ministry. We would call this “quick and dirty” before we would call it “quality.” Paul gave them their marching orders, then basically instructed them, “Do the best you can. The Holy Spirit will guide you. If you run into trouble, then send me a letter.” Then, Paul was off to the next place.
In living with the tension between the quality and quantity of ministry, I want you to consider these words from Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management:
“…there are two different kinds of compromise. One is expressed in an old proverb, ‘Half a loaf of bread is better than no bread.’ The other, in the story of the judgment of Solomon, is clearly based on the realization that ‘half a baby is worse than no baby at all.’ In the first instance, the boundary conditions are still being satisfied. The purpose of bread is to provide food, and half a loaf is still food. Half a baby, however, does not satisfy the boundary conditions. For half a baby is not half of a living and growing child.
“It is a waste of time to worry about what will be acceptable and what a decision maker should or should not say so as not to evoke resistance…In other words, the decision maker gains nothing by starting out with the question, ‘What is acceptable?’ For in the process of answering it, he or she usually gives away the important things and loses any chance to come up with an effective — let alone the right — answer.”
In retelling this story, my friend and mentor, Carl George once asked this question which changed the course of my thinking about small group ministry: “Are your groups more like a baby or a loaf of bread? Because if it’s like a baby, then half a baby won’t do. You want a perfect baby. But, if it’s more like a loaf of bread and you’re starving, any amount of bread will help to alleviate the hunger.”
In managing the tension between quality and quantity, we must figure out a way to embrace the Genius of the And, as coined by Jim Collins in Built to Last. This isn’t an either/or circumstance, in that, if there is no quantity, then quality doesn’t actually matter. The question is whether the limitation on the quantity is a matter of necessity or a personal need for control.
As I wrestled with this tension when I was first introduced to the idea of rapidly expanding group system, I pleaded with God, “But, I need quality control.”
God called me on it. He spoke to me and said, “Allen, when you say ‘quality control,’ quality is your excuse.”
God doesn’t go easy on me. But, I got the point, and moved forward.
What do you think?