About Steve Gladen

Steve Gladen is Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church, which sees over 30,000 people gathering weekly in 5,000 small groups. He's the founder of SmallGroups.net and travels widely to speak on the topic of small groups and healthy, biblical community. He is the author of several books including Small Groups With Purpose and Leading Small Groups With Purpose.

Taking Risks and Seizing Opportunities


Risk and Opportunity

When you or your people are presented with an opportunity to grow, a certain degree of risk is always involved. It may be a risk of time or money or a risk of stepping out of a comfort zone. At that moment, they have two options: step out in faith or be paralyzed by fear […]

The Importance of Gathering Your Small Group Leaders



There are two questions inherent in every small group ministry: How do you get people connected into new groups, and how do you sustain existing groups?”  There are two crucial areas you need to consider in sustaining your Small Group Ministry.  One is how you do infrastructure; not sexy, but needed if you have over […]

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How to Keep the Small Groups You Start



Right now at Saddleback Church we are in the thick of it! We are finishing up our “Live Your Calling” Campaign; a Campaign that launched over 3,000 new small groups. Yup, you are reading the correct! Praise God and oh my Lord we need your help!!! This is been the most successful Campaign at Saddleback in the […]

The ‘Easy’ Prison Guard of Our Souls and Small Group Ministries



Ah…freedom. As I write article I am sitting in a Starbuck’s at 7 a.m., which in itself doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary. Factor in now that I am not a morning person, it is my day off, I was up late, and being here is not my choice…I am a prisoner! To what? […]

3 Ways to Show Love For Your Small Group Hosts


Valentine's Day

The day after Christmas I saw this display. In more than one way it made me sick, although in another way it got me thinking. What is it that has marketing people so aggressive? Love sells! They know the power of love. The question is do we? Love is all around the stores, so it must […]

12 Tips for a Successful Campaign



Having lived through 9 campaigns (running point on 5) in my 12 years as Small-Group Pastor here at Saddleback, I have discovered that a strategy is only as good as the foundation and follow-through that surrounds it. As they say, the devil is in the details. That’s why our Saddleback Church Campaigns come with full […]

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Where Do You Want to Go This Year?


Train Tracks

On Christmas Day, one of our traditions is to read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and before presents are opened, we discuss what we want to give Jesus this coming year. Now before you think higher of my family than you should, this is not a lengthy theological discussion, and not always met with […]

Give Your Small Group Leaders What Matters for Christmas



If you are like so many people across the world, you are thinking through what is it is you can give the people you love and care for at Christmas? Partly it is because of tradition, but what the Christmas season does in so many of us is make us think about how we want […]

10 Things to Think About Before Starting a Small Groups Ministry


Small Group

1. Know where you are headed When you consider a believer, a follower of Christ in your church, what is it you want them to look like and act like? What is it you want them to “be”? Too many churches start up a small-groups ministry because it’s “the thing to do.” But it may […]

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How to Increase the Health of Your Sunday School


Old Sunday School

Once your church has decided how to define a healthy follower of Christ (for Saddleback it is someone balancing the Great Commission and Great Commandment in their heart—fellowship, discipleship, service, evangelism and worship), then there are some practical steps you can take to help your Sunday school class maximize health. Here are some suggestions: 1. […]

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