Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Albert Sarno


small group, community, spiritual growth, discipleship, foundations, healthy groups, life groups


Christianity | Religion


Small group ministry is crucial for the health and well-being of the church. The problem this DMIN action research sought to address was that Valley Gate Church did not grasp the purpose of small group ministry due to not implementing small groups with well-defined intent. Valley Gate Church is a church plant that launched in 2016. This DMIN action research aimed to create and implement a six-week congregational training to develop small group leaders and members at Valley Gate Church. Twenty-two participants were involved in the entire six-week training. All participants took a pre- and post-training assessment consisting of surveys, questionnaires, and open-ended questions. This researcher also interviewed six participants. The goal was to assess participants’ outlook on small group ministry and see how this foundational training would build upon that knowledge to lay a clear intent regarding small group ministry. The research methods employed were content analysis and thematic analysis. In the end, there was a positive correlation with post-training participants reporting being highly motivated to be active participants in future small groups, and the majority strongly agreed that they now understood the overall intent behind small groups. The training proved successful in participants’ understanding that the two overarching themes of small groups are cultivating community and spiritual growth, and this DMIN action research is needed in the ministry field to help any congregation reset and build the necessary foundations for this vital ministry.

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