You Can’t Be Full: A Plea to Small Groups

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This post is a guest post by my wife Christina.

Nothing baffles me more than when the church says they’re full. How can the church be full when the very mission we’ve been given is to spread? No church is too full for another soul who needs Jesus. And a Small Group is never too full to take on another person seeking our Savior.

And yet I hear it. All. The. Time. And it is not okay.

I can tell you countless stories of times I’ve heard people say that they couldn’t join a Small Group at church because every group they reached out to was “full.” I’ve heard it myself from numerous groups when Dylan and I were trying to get plugged in to the church body.

“Thanks for reaching out, but our Small Group is actually full right now.”

I get it. Small Groups are supposed to be small- it’s in the name. And there are plenty of valid reasons small groups should be small. But there has to be another way to keep groups intimate and still always have an open door.

Because here is what you are really communicating when you say your full:

-You aren’t important to us
-You aren’t welcome here
-You have no place here
-We don’t care about you

That can’t be the case Small Group Leader. Church, you have got to stop communicating that.

Community is necessary for a growing relationship with Jesus. So if Small Groups is your church model for doing that then it is vital to your mission. But you can’t say that community is a priority, small groups are important, and then make it difficult for people to join a group. You can’t push Small Groups and then allow your Small Groups Leaders to then turn around and say, “oh we’re actually full.” Well I suppose you can (and so many do), but it’s absurd.

Most people who need Jesus are hesitant to join a Small Group. They have come up with 101 reasons why they shouldn’t join a group. Don’t give them another reason not to. And please, don’t say “no” when they have finally said “yes” to joining a group.

If someone is reaching out for community, if they are seeking Jesus, if they are considering diving deeper the answer has to be, “YES!”

So Church, Small Groups, and you too Christian friend group- stop acting like your full. You simply can’t be full.


*There are plenty of ways to multiply groups effectively to keep it small and still never turn people away. Personally, I recommend the multiplication model.

What it very well might mean though is that your group will change contrary to your personal preference. And to that I say: in case no one has told you yet, community and sharing the gospel isn’t always going to fit your preference.

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