Can a Church of 300 Exceed 100% in Groups?

By Mark Howell

I get a lot of questions.  I love getting them and when possible, I love answering them individually.  And sometimes they’re so representative of the questions many people have…I just have to answer them here.

Here’s one that I think will hit the needs of a lot of people.  It came in last week.

In the last two years our 8 year old church has doubled in size and we average about 300 in weekly attendance, with about 170 adults and about half of those adults regularly attending a small group.  Over the last two years our small group participation hasn’t grown at nearly the same rate as our Sunday morning attendance.

We want to do a better job of creating simpler steps for people to go from Sunday morning attendance to group participation.  We’ve tried a few things that haven’t worked so well, and we’ve had little success integrating people into existing groups.  Our greatest success has come from starting new groups in conjunction with a church-wide campaign.

Have you seen churches our size that have successfully led the overwhelming majority of their people into group life?  If so, what about their system is working so well?

Great questions!  Don’t you think?  Here are a few observations:

I can tell you that churches of all sizes are beginning to push beyond 100% connection.  Is it easy?  No.  It takes commitment to the objective on the part of the whole team.  It takes an unwavering laser focus.  It is happening…but only in those churches that lock onto the target and never let up.

Source: Mark Howell Live

Mark Howell

Mark Howell is the founder of, committed to helping churches launch, build, and sustain healthy small group ministries. He's also the Pastor of Discipleship Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church.  Having served as small group pastor at Woodlands Church and Lake Avenue Church, Mark is a seasoned veteran with experience in both the contemporary and the traditional church. In addition, he served as a consultant with Lifetogether and as a host for the Purpose Driven Campaign Coaching programs. You can read Mark's blog at or follow him on twitter.