Of course you will need a leader for each subgroup to facilitate the conversation and keep it moving. Unfortunately, if I ask someone to lead the group, that person is going to give me all the reasons why he or she can’t lead. So I don’t even ask. Instead I just say, “Hey, could you just take part of the group into the dining room and lead a quick discussion on one sentence? Then we’ll all get back together in about fifteen minutes.”
After a few months of leading part of the group through discussions on a sentence or two, I take it to the next level and ask him or her to take the subgroup into another room for a large section of the study. Sometime after that I will be able to turn that person loose and let him or her lead the subgroup during the entire small group meeting. Eventually that group may feel compelled to move out on their own. If they do, their leader will already have plenty of practice and the group will have a strong foundation.
Subgrouping in this way will ensure that the doors of your small group remain open to seekers and other lost souls looking for the love of Christ. Not only does it develop leaders, but it also ensures that your small group atmosphere is conducive to adding friends.
When is it time to subgroup? The moment everyone can’t share—regardless of the size of the small group!
Steve Gladen, Leading Small Groups with Purpose: Everything You Need to Lead a Healthy Group (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012).