Our small group ministry strives to be effective, not perfect. We never let problem solving get in the way of a decision that must be made. Our biggest strides have been made by pulling the trigger on ideas at the right moment, not by agonizing over every possible scenario that could go wrong. I love Ecclesiastes 11:4, which says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done” (TLB). We don’t make perfection an idol, and we are not idle waiting for perfect conditions. If you are single and waiting for the perfect conditions to get married, you will always be single. If you are married and waiting for the perfect conditions to have kids, you will never have kids. God wants us to be good stewards of our resources, not roadblocks to his promptings. Sometimes we just overthink it.

During a management meeting in the summer of 2002, Pastor Rick spoke to us about exponential thinking. In the past we usually launched around 300 groups per year, but that year he challenged us to launch 3,000 groups. In that moment, the campaign strategy was born—a strategy that now has been used successfully by thousands of churches around the world.

I would like to say we had it all figured out from the beginning. But that would be far from the truth. When Pastor Rick first had the idea of the campaign strategy, we were only six weeks away from our fall program launch, so we had a very short time to come up with small group resources. What later came together in a nicely organized kit called 40 Days of Purpose, which we later packaged for outside churches, actually started with us scrambling to get good enough resources to our groups week by week. Could we have made it look better for our own groups? Sure. But we would have missed the wave God wanted us to surf.


Gladen, Steve M. (2011). Small Groups with Purpose (Kindle Locations 374-387). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.