On this episode of Group Answers, Chris and Brian talk with Steve Gladen about current trends in small groups.
Steve Gladen (M Div., Fuller Theological Seminary) has been Executive Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church since 1998 and serves as an elder of the church. He oversees the strategic launch and spiritual development of more than 7,000 adult small groups on multiple campuses. He is the author of Small Groups with Purpose, which has been translated into eleven languages, and Planning Small Groups with Purpose. He has a driving passion to see each church attendee connected to a qualified shepherd and become an integral part of their church body, living purposefully for Christ. Steve and his wife, Lisa, have been married for nearly 30 years, have two children, Erika and Ethan, and reside in Orange County, California. Learn more at www.stevegladen.com.
- You host a lot of conferences and spend time with a ton of churches, what are some of the group trends that you are seeing out there?
- What counsel would you give a church planter establishing a groups ministry?
- What are the most significant challenges you’re seeing in group ministry today?
- Saddleback has been successful with virtual, online groups, is that a viable strategy for most churches?
- Who has been the most influential leader — your “go to” — throughout your ministry in the groups space?
What single decision from your time in leadership, if given the chance, would you change?
- The economy of churches is relationship, relationship, relationship.
- You build a church crowd to core.
- You need a relationship and you need a responsibility.
- The greatest value that distinguishes a group is that it fills the void that you feel spiritually.
- It’s the content that brings people; they stay because of the community.
- Your driving force has to be “change lives.”
- You want to meet people where they’re at and take them to where you want them.
- When God lays something on your heart, the toughest thing to do is be obedient to it.
This Episode’s Sponsor: You’ve probably heard about the movie OVERCOMER. But you may not know there are a few books and Bible studies inspired by the film. One is called Defined by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick, which is a book and Bible study based on insights from the Book of Ephesians. You can find these books and Bible studies at Lifeway.com/Overcomer.
The Group Answers Podcast is a weekly show designed to resource, train, and encourage small group leaders. Each episode considers current trends and resources as well as timeless truths and methods of discipleship. It is hosted by Brian Daniel, a Bible study and discipleship expert in Lifeway’s Groups Ministry, and Chris Surratt, the small group and discipleship specialist at Lifeway and author of Leading Small Groups.