Top 10 Things I Need to Know about Discipleship


People Walking

I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded about certain things on a regular basis. As I think through discipleship, here’s my current list of things I need to know: It takes a disciple to make a disciple. While I sometimes argue that anyone can host a small group (even a non-Christian), only […]

Small Groups: 4 Kinds that Expand Ministry


Hand on the World

Saddleback outgrew me a long time ago. If Saddleback were limited to the number of people I could personally care for, we would be stuck at 300. Early in the life of Saddleback, I realized that my role was to equip the congregation for ministry, not do all the ministry myself. I simply can’t minister […]

Help! We Had a Successful Small Group Campaign… Now What?



I get questions.  Some of them are just too good to keep to myself.  Here’s one from yesterday: Hi Mark, I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and it’s been extremely helpful. In fact, because of your blog, this fall we went “open bar” and Saddleback style on our small group strategy and saw great […]

Committed to Community -Discovering the Difference Relational Ministry Can Make



It seems like small groups are everywhere.  And churches that have a recognized small group ministry are becoming more the standard than the exception.  Why is that?  What’s going on? As director of, I had a lot of contact with churches that were neck deep in the small group movement.  My job revolved around […]

Leadership, Jesus, and Your Small Group Ministry



Small group ministry is all about people. Day in and day out at Saddleback Church I could spend the majority of my time dealing with people and mess. After all, that is why we went to Seminary—to deal with people. People aren’t an interruption, they are why we exist! So, here is the question, in […]

Birds and Bees: A Conversation about God, Sex and Sexuality



Took a look this weekend at Birds and Bees: A Conversation about God, Sex and Sexuality, a new study from Threads (LifeWay’s young adult line of curriculum).  The study was written by Gregg Matte, senior pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church and founder of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, one of the largest weekly […]

Can Virtual Community Be Biblical?



Can Virtual Community be Biblical? Let’s start this conversation by clearly stating Saddleback does not have this figured out. I would also like to state that Saddleback isn’t afraid of messiness or trying to figure out how to build this plane while we are flying it! Yes, many times we discover we don’t have all […]

Dreaming of More for the Next Generation: An Eye-Opening Approach for Family Ministry



While it might seem more than a little outside my usual content area, I found a lot to really love in Dreaming of More for the Next Generation: Lifetime Faith Ignited by Family Ministry.  New from Michelle Anthony, RockHarbor Church’s Family Ministry Architect, Dreaming of More grabbed my attention from the first few pages. One […]

Coaching to Shepherd Another



By Brett Eastman The Bible says “Pray to the Lord of the Harvest”.  We are all called to be shepherds and to impact the lives of others.  I don’t do this as often as I should, but this a challenge for all Christians.  There are many simple ways for people to grow as a shepherd.  […]

What’s Next in GroupLife?


Old Group

Ever wonder what’s next in grouplife?  Have any ideas? In 1996 I heard about an experiment at Willow Creek called a Taste of Community.  Knowing only a little bit about it, I held a connecting event and sorted attendees out by the style of music they listened to.  Seriously.  It actually worked. I remember first […]

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