Multiplication in Small Groups: Why More Than 1 Apprentice Makes Sense

The idea of multiplying your Small Group might be a new or strange idea to you. So what exactly is “multiplication” and why should a Small Group do it?

What is Multiplication? And Why Do It?

Multiplication is the idea that a Small Group will begin with a few people (perhaps 8-10) and continue to grow with the intention of eventually splitting and multiplying itself into two groups, each with a separate leader.

Because Small Groups are meant to be intimate and relational, multiplication can feel painful, especially when the group becomes connected and close. But here are two reasons why it is healthy for a Small Group to do this:

  1. Small Group multiplication provides the opportunity for different people to use their gifts.  We have all been given gifts by God to use for his glory (Romans 12:6-8), and when we multiply a Small Group, this allows more people to exercise gifts that they may not be able to use otherwise: being able to host, lead, and facilitate discussion for others.
  2. Small group multiplication allows for others to experience community.  Without more Small Groups, where do new College Park members go? As a church family, we want to try to create enough space so that everyone at College Park who wants to be in a Small Group can join one!

Why Have More Than One Apprentice?

While it is beneficial to raise up one apprentice who could launch a new group out of your existing group, there is also a second approach: raising up multiple apprentices within your Small Group.   Instead of “putting all of your eggs in one basket” by investing in just one future leader in the group, you could leverage various opportunities within the group to multiple people and see how they do at those opportunities. 

How many times as a leader have you thought, “I really should plan more activities outside of group, but I barely have time to manage our regular gatherings”? You as a leader can delegate that to another person in your group. The same could be done with other opportunities. 

For instance, one person could help lead the prayer time (and send out the prayer requests that were shared afterward) while another person could plan a serving project or fellowship event for the group.  Who knows, by allowing people the opportunity to “lead” in small ways, you can help them to grow as well as find out their interest in future group leadership.

Below is a diagram that pictures this multiple apprentice model:

Practical Steps To Multiplication

What would this look like practically?

  1. Pick a couple of “leading opportunities” others in the group could try
  2. Invite others to try out those opportunities
  3. Support them (they may need reminders, or it may not be a fit) and evaluate if this is a good trajectory

Remember: investing in future leaders is not an overnight enterprise. It takes time and has ups-and-downs.  But it’s always worth it to pour into people and to move closer to a vision of more men and women thriving in community.

Karesse Faull

Karesse Faull

Assistant Director of Student Ministry

Karesse serves on the Student Ministries Team as the Assistant Director of Student Ministries. She is passionate about getting to be a part of people’s stories and getting to see God work in and through the lives of students. Karesse enjoys spending time with her family and closest friends.