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Setting up task groups is a great way to develop a growing number of faithful volunteers in almost any area of ministry. A task group is distinct in that it isn't just a traditional fellowship-building group or a team of people simply fulfilling a task. By definition, task groups attempt to accomplish both fellowship and ministry at the same time.

The principle mission of a task group is to set aside a 30-45-minute group time to develop the spiritual and relational life of each team member. People tend to join a group because of the task they want to work on, but ultimately they will stay because of the mutual caring among the group members. Being intentional about developing the sense of community through a designated group time strengthens and improves the overall health of the ministry.

Most of the principles used to develop effective traditional small groups can be transferred to working with task-oriented groups. However, several features will especially enhance the development of task groups:

1.    Encourage groups to meet before or after their serving time. No matter how frequent the serving opportunity (whether once per week or once per quarter), add a community dimension to each meeting.

2.    Monitor task-group curriculum selection and usage. To begin with, use simple, open-ended questions, such as those found in Nav-Press's 201 Questions. Evolve to using an uncomplicated small-group curriculum. For instance, group members could respond to discussion questions after reading a short passage from a Serendipity Bible or Life Application Bible. Questions can also be taken from any of the Deepening Life Together studies

3.    Develop a sense of teammates versus soulmates. People who join task groups generally have a primary commitment to the task and a secondary commitment to the people. Creating a teammate atmosphere helps everyone recognize that this group is different from the two-hour women's or couples' Bible study. Task-group members should accept and enjoy the fact that they have gathered in order to do something.

4.    Make the task a means to a greater end. Ultimately, changed lives is our goal. Over 50 percent of those serving in a task group will never join a traditional fellowship group. Yet a task group is an excellent place to connect unconnected people. For this reason, encourage groups to form around any appropriate impassioned cause for which a qualified leader will emerge.

5.    Provide ongoing leadership development. Leaders of task groups need regular support, training, troubleshooting help, and encouragement in order to lead over the long haul. Also, leaving an "open chair" (for the potential invited newcomer) in task group meetings will serve as the principle means of gathering the next generation of volunteers and leaders.

The beauty of leading and managing volunteer teams through task groups is that people not only accomplish the important task but also ultimately grow in their walk with God, with each other, and with the church. These are goals worthy of our labor.

--- Brett Eastman


Our Deepening Life curriculum and Randy Alcorn's Bible study on Heaven are perfect tools to help "emerging group leaders." DVDs include Leader Lifter training - short 5 minute instructions for leaders to watch prior to the group meeting. The Deepening Series also includes LEADER NOTES .... yes we give you the suggested answers to the discussion questions in the back of the book.

Church Kits include a Resource CD and are bundled with a DVD and a Study Guide. The Resource CD that includes Small Group Leader Training Packets, Sermon Outlines, Session Outlines including scripture references (that are great tools for new leaders), planning materials, group forms, graphics to produce bulletin inserts, banners, postcards and more. If you are a church and would like a FREE resource CD please order a Leader kit and in the special instructions type FREE CD.

Deepening Life Curriculum includes more than 14 small group video Bible studies: James, Parables, Promises of God, Romans, Acts, Ephesians, the book of Revelation, Praying God’s Way, the Gospel of John, Fruit of the Spirit, Psalms, and character studies on the Apostle Paul and Ruth.

If you would like to receive special offers and discount coupons for our small group video Bible studies, or receive more tips on developing your small group ministry, (click here) to receive our monthly newsletter and access to our Exclusive Free Stuff page where you can download group forms and resources.

Brett Eastman served as the Small Group Champion at Saddleback Church and Willow Creek Community Church for over a decade. Brett has produced and either authored or co-authored over 200 small group curriculum series including the bestselling Purpose Driven Small Group curriculum, Doing Lifetogether published by Zondervan, which has sold over 3,000,000 copies. He also was the primary designer behind the 40 Days of Purpose Campaigns that fueled over 25,000 churches around the world. He also wrote and produced the first Purpose Driven small group series for Rick Warren that influenced the development of over 50 small group series to date.

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