Building Community at 'Building a Small Groups Ministry' Workshop

October 12, 2011

First United Methodist Church of Carson City, Nevada threw wide its doors on Saturday, Oct. 8 and turned a "Building a Small Groups Ministry" workshop into a community-building affair.

In addition to the 25 UMCs represented – from as far afield as seven hours away – there were participants from two other denominations, as well.
The daylong workshop was led by Bill Willits, one of the founding pastors at North Point Ministries in Georgia and a nationally known authority on small groups. Willits used numerous videos as illustrations, as he explained the purpose of small groups, how to have a successful small groups ministry, and what factors spell disaster for small groups.
Carson City First began its small groups ministry two years ago and now has 170 people involved, all doing mission. But – "We think that's just the first step; we want to take it a step further," the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats, senior pastor, said on Saturday. He said that's why church leaders looked far ahead, and planned this workshop.
"We felt a year and a half ago that we would be at this place, kind of at a plateau, and we knew we were going to need a good presenter to help us get to the next level. So about a year ago we contacted Bill Willits down there in Atlanta," he said.
The non-denominational North Point Community Church was launched in a basement by six people, 16 years ago, and now has five campuses in the Atlanta area and 31,000 people, children and adults, engaged in the mission of the Church through small groups.
Jennings-Teats said a church can be one that has small groups ministry or one that defines itself by small groups. Carson City First chose the latter.
"We are trying to rethink, redefine what it means to be the Church," he said.
DVD Sets Will Be Available to Order Soon
California-Nevada Annual Conference Communications captured the "Building a Small Groups Ministry" workshop on video, and will make DVDs of the training available next month.
You will be able to purchase the DVD sets on line at, for a price that covers the cost of production and duplication – before Thanksgiving, we hope. Watch for the announcement in the Instant Connection.
Watch the short videos at right for a preview.