At churches all across the world, people are learning that bigger isn’t always better. While there are a great many benefits of being a part of a large church; the benefits of becoming smaller are important. Small groups bring about real discipleship, life change, and spiritual growth. If you read my blog for any length of time you’ve heard me write about how-to lead small groups, how-to recruit leaders to lead small groups, how-to organize the details of small groups, and even pushed some tips at you from the greatest small group leader of all time.

I love small groups, but over the past two years those small groups have taken on a special meaning. I’m a pastor and a leader of great leaders; but I’m primarily a husband and a father. It’s as the latter that I’ve seen the real impact of small groups.

I’ve watched as my wife has lead a group of boys from the 1st grade up through the 3rd grade. I’ve seen her talk throughout the week of the conversations she’s had with those boys. As our lives have changed over the years, she’s has continued to have a big impact on the changing lives of those boys. They matter to her, and because they matter to her; they matter to our family.

I’ve seen my sons and daughter relate their church experience much more to their small group leader, then they ever do to a large group skit or worship time. Those large group elements are A+ quality, but it’s the everyday relationship they have with Ms. Amy, Mr. Geoffrey, or Mr. Alan that have impacted them the most. Those leaders matter to my kids, and because they matter to them; they matter to our family.

I believe in letting our children learn within the safety of a personal relationship with someone I trust. I believe college students, empty-nesters, and stay-at-home moms can have a profound impact on my family through the conversations they have in small group with my children. I believe I need influential people in my childrens’ lives, and I believe those people should be someone I believe in.

Small groups matter to me as a NextGEN pastor, but they matter much more to me as a husband and father.

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Jonathan Cliff is a huge advocate for families and believes that the family can be God's primary way of reaching the world that they live in. Jonathan and his wife, Starr, have a full house with two sons, Ryan and Dylan, and one daughter, Lauryn. They have also served as foster parents for many kids over the years, and have a great passion for broken families being restored.'

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