Rev. James Hein
The Possibility and Power of Small Group Ministry, Rev. James Hein
Every single WELS church has small groups—smaller segments of members that come together outside of worship. It might be four men who meet for a breakfast Bible study or six women who get together once a month for fellowship. The question is not, “Should our church have small groups?” You already do, at least informally. Therefore, the real question for Lutheran leaders to ask: “How can these groups be organized for gospel ministry?”
The answer to that question is broader. WELS congregations are increasingly incorporating small groups into their ministry plan. They fall across a broad spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, some congregations use small groups simply as an additional Bible study opportunity. On the other end of the spectrum, there are congregations who utilize small groups as the primary means of knitting members together in Christian community, providing the mutual encouragement, support, and accountability that ever believer needs.
Small groups are especially important for congregations seeking to retain and gain young adult members. That is a demographic that is desperately seeking the vibrant, transparent, relational setting that a small group can offer. The reality is that quality, Christ-centered small groups might very well be the most effective way to disciple young adults… and maybe even all adults.
This session will include practical discussion on how to start up a vibrant small group ministry program. This will include what to look for in potential small group leaders and how to train those leaders. We will also discuss how to incorporate a small groups schedule into the life of your church. (Another upside to small-group ministry is it can actually make ministry planning easier.) Finally, we will discuss how to develop good materials that generate synergy between your worship services, studies, and the fellowship life of the congregation.
Within an hour, you will go from being unconvinced about the importance of small groups to being excited in competent in running a small group ministry at your congregation.
Rev. James Hein
James Hein began his pastoral ministry in 2008 at Resurrection in Rochester, Minn. In his seven years there, through a focused effort on small group ministry, the Lord flipped the demographics of the congregation, with Millennials replacing Baby Boomers as the largest segment of active membership. In 2015, James accepted to call to serve as lead pastor at St. Marcus in Milwaukee, Wis. He and his wife Adrian are intensely passionate about urban gospel work—embracing ethnic diversity, exploring modern technology in church, and navigating the post-Christian cultural climate.