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Paperback Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups Book

ISBN: 0830745661

ISBN13: 9780830745661

Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups

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Book Overview

Church leaders want to know how to make small groups work for their church communities, yet a quick look around shows that while small groups are all the rage, much of the time they create more problems than they solve. Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas, founding pastors of The Journey Church in the heart of New York City, suggest that this failure is due to widely held beliefs about small groups that just aren't true--and they aim to debunk the myths...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

This Is a Complete System

Looking for a soup-to-nuts primer on small group ministry? For most churches, Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups by Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas will neatly fill that need. Unless yours is a large church (average adult attendance of more than 1,000), this will be a resource that will fill in a lot of blanks. Covering the Journey Church methodology very thoroughly in 223 pages, Activate guides you from philosophy to implementation in a semester based approach. Is it an "entirely new approach to small groups?" No. Does that make it any less valuable? No again. Incorporating concepts from a variety of sources, the Journey approach is a neatly designed system that will work in most churches. If you've attempted to construct a small group system the way you'd select food at a buffet, the wisdom of implementing a system will be immediately obvious. As the authors challenge in the introduction, "Read and digest this book. Grab a highlighter and work your way through the following pages. Make notes in the margin. Disagree with us, laugh at us or raise your eyebrows. We don't mind. Over the next 200 pages, we are going to show you a small group system that can consistently accomplish the goals we mention above." I like the concrete, step-by-step approach of this book. If you're looking for a systematic approach, this is a good one.

Best Book I Have Ever Read on Building Community (Small Groups)

This is by far the best book I have ever read on building authentic and meaningful community in the church (and as a Pastor of 11 years - I have read a lot). After reading this book I bought four more copies for other people in my church to read. This semester based system that Searcy and his staff has come up with makes complete sense and is something that any church no matter what the size could implement. Also what I like about this system is that it looks to take care of both the "attendees" and the leaders. Also, the focus on spiritual depth and being missional, makes the small group system very healthy. I got the opportunity to spend a week at this church with Nelson Searcy for a Masters class and he is the real deal. If you are looking for something fresh in the area of small groups and a system that is simple and not overly complex, you need to check this book out.

Outstanding Practical Book on Small Groups Ministry

Searcy and Thomas have written an outstanding book on starting or developing a small groups program within the local church. The material presented demonstrates a depth of insight that only comes from experience - it's easy to see how Journey Church in New York City went from a handful of people to over 1100 in worship attendance and over 1200 people in almost 100 small groups in just a few years. The book is easy to read, very well organized, very practical, yet gives the important `why' behind each of the main ideas presented. (I would characterize his other book Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church in the same way.) The material is covered in several sections within two parts: the Activate Mindset, and the Activate System. The first half talks about several novel principles and shares some solid insight in sidebars and examples. The second half is really nuts-and-bolts on how to apply this approach not just as a set of disconnected ideas, but as a complete system that can be put in place. It doesn't tell the reader what needs to be covered or try to set an agenda for the groups, so there is still a lot of freedom for application and customization of the system to best match the needs of the church. Part One: The Activate Mindset * Rethinking Small Group Methodology - Think Inside Out... Not Outside In - Think Larger... Not Smaller - Think Friendship... Not Intimacy * Rethinking Small Group Structure - Think Short-Term... Not Long-Term - Think Promotion Months... Not Ongoing Sign-ups - Think Church of small groups... Not with small groups * Rethinking Small Group Strategy - Think Easy... Not Hard - Think Ahead... Not Behind - Think Full Staff Participation... Not Staff Specialist * Rethinking Small-Group Leadership - Think Apprentice... Not Expert - Think Decentralization... Not Staff Control - Think Leader Multiplication... Not Group Multiplication Part Two: The Activate System * Focusing Your Groups (with 5 Focus steps) * Forming Your Groups (with 3 Forming steps) * Filling Your Groups (with 11 Fill factors) * Facilitating Your Groups (with 5 Principles) Some may be put off by the subtitle `An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups'. That type of marketing line seems to be best left for readers and reviewers to decide, but the material in the book is not as self-promotional as the title. I had previously read several books by Donahue and others stressing being a Church of Small Groups (not with). What I particularly liked about Activate was that several foundational principles were in common with these other books, while several aspects of the approach were quite different - and Searcy and Thomas discuss the reasons why. (For example, the approach to sign-ups and promotion is different in the Activate system, but with a good rationale.) I would strongly recommend that pastors and/or those responsible for starting or growing a small groups ministry read `Activate' in additi

Thank you for the nuts and bolts!

What I loved about this book is that it doesn't just tell us "People need to be in community". Instead, it tells us how to lead people into a small group experience and how to manage the groups system as a staff. Nelson and Kerrick have written a book for people in the trenches of the local church because that's where they are as well. I highly recommend this you buy this book for yourself and for your entire church staff!


This is a powerful refreshing book on small groups. I have read it twice already and have it all highlighted with many new insights into my personal small groups theology. We have built our church on small groups here in NYC, and have read about every small group book there is.Many are pretty much the same.However, What makes this one different is that (1).It is in fact a radical paradigm shift!Many books I read are 80% things I agree on already. What makes this book better is that I actually learned a lot more than what I already agreed on. The idea of losing control is in istelf worth the book. (2).Nelson and kerrick are powerful practicioners in that they can articulate a plan of action in real steps and not only give you a "YOU NEED TO DO THIS" thesis. They actually give you a plan and a "Why", and PROOF that its worked. BOTTOM LINE: This is Simply one of the best books ever on small groups. Even if you dont agree on everything in this book, I promise you you will gain a lot from it. The price of the book is peanuts compared to the wealth of insight you will recieve. Thanks again guys, pastor Eddie Ramirez, Victory Outreach- Alcance Victoria Brooklyn, NY.
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