Transformation Through Life Groups & Bible Studies

Podcast CliffsNotes? Really?

Yes, it’s true. Sometimes you’re in an office without access to earbuds; other times you just prefer to read. If you don’t have time to listen to my entire podcast with Jim Cowart, this post is for you.

Jim and I are graduates of Asbury Seminary and we’re both Abingdon Authors. I read Jim’s book, Grab, Gather, Grow, and implemented some of his teachings at Good Shepherd Church.

If you’d like to listen to Transforming a Congregation through Life Groups & Bible Studies in its entirety, here’s the link:


What You’ll Learn:

  • How two pastors of growing congregations and disciples use unconventional ways to facilitate Bible studies.
  • By raising the bar on trust and selecting the right studies, pastors and leaders can encourage others to join a Life Group or Small Group.
  • Real-world examples of using the G3 method across all levels of the church to gain the momentum necessary for growth.
  • Optimum time periods for church-wide studies.
  • The role of platform messaging in recruiting new sign-ups for Life Groups or Bible Studies.


Talbot: Jim, Can you give us a summary of the Grab, Gather, Grow Process?

Jim: After going through a few consulting sessions at Harvest Church, we began to implement their recommendations on growing through community efforts, but we put our own spin on it. Grab, Gather, Grow was born during this phase, and we ran with it.

Step One: Provide the materials that you’re going to use and give them away for free. We ask those who are grabbing the resources to grab some friends and people they know with the goal of growing together.


Talbot: Jim, what I’m hearing you say is that you’ve taken typical small group recruitment and you’ve turned it on its head. Is that correct?

Jim: A significant distinction in Grab, Gather, Grow is the label that we assign to our leaders. We call them small group facilitators. The term leader can be intimidating, especially when you’re talking about a Bible study. In designating the facilitator as the gatherer, not the expert, we take the pressure off of them to facilitate the group, ensuring them that the study itself will serve as the source of expertise.

We went through a challenging period with lots of “what if” scenarios, but we have a long history of the methodology behind us, so ultimately, we went for it.

Talbot: After reading Grab, Gather, Grow, we implemented this practice at Good Shepherd. We went from 70 groups to 180. 

Jim: When you combine several elements; when your sermons and your small groups are all about the same subject, that really adds synergy and momentum to your efforts.



Talbot: What kinds of material have you used from outside Harvest Church or do you use your own? 

Jim: We do produce our own cirricula, but we’ve found that series that are approximately 4-6 weeks long work best, regardless of whether it’s our own content or someone else’s.

Talbot: We have come to realize that some Christians are sprinters and some are marathoners. Once you stop pulling your hair out trying to make everyone into a sprinter or a marathoner, you can move forward.

Jim: We call it “ringing the bell hard” about once or twice a year to get everyone in the church into a small group for 4-6 weeks. By doing that, it motivates everyone to get involved.

Talbot:  After reading Grab, Gather, Grow, I can honestly say that your book is making an impact in the kingdom as we use it here at Good Shepherd.  Can you tell me what books you’re reading that are helping you make an impact right now?

There’s your cliffhanger from the podcast CliffsNotes; listen to the podcast to get the answer to that final question!

If you missed out on the Crash Test Dummies & Grab, Gather, Grow, Giveaway, both books are still available through Abingdon Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.


If you’re searching for more information on Small Groups/Life Groups or Bible Studies, sign up for my newsletter or learn more about the top five elements of an excellent Bible study.

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