What’s In a Name? Are You Calling Your Groups By the Right One?


Groups are being called by lots of different names. A few of those titles are listed below.

  • Small Groups
  • House Groups
  • Missional Communities
  • Life Groups
  • Community Groups
  • Cell Groups
  • D-Groups
  • Sunday School

It seems that most churches choose to name their groups based on what is the latest trend. When I first joined the movement almost all churches called a group a small group. Then a new term arose out of the dust of ecclesiastical titling. When a new church plant started up or a church started a groups ministry a group was declared a House Group. In a later era, the terms Life Groups, Community Groups, or Cell Groups caught on. As of late, Missional Community is the hot term.

While it’s always exciting to be on the trendy side of things, it isn’t always the wisest choice to make. What you call your groups really does make a difference. Why? Because what you call your groups tells those who lead groups and those who are group members what the primary expectation is of the group. A little explanation…

There are four quadrants to group life. Every biblical group lives in these four quadrants, 1) Theological (biblical teaching), 2) Relational (doing life together in biblical community), 3) Restorational (supporting people in times of crisis and healing brokenness), 4) Missional (being on mission to bring people to Christ through evangelism and missional living). Although every group should be living out each of these quadrants, every group ministry will lean more heavily in one of these quadrants and expect their groups to be most passionately pursuing that quadrant. The term a group ministry calls its groups should depict the action and/or highest expectation of each group.

For instance, a group ministry that expects its groups to be primarily on mission in the community where the group meets would be wise to call its groups, Missional Communities. A group ministry that expects its groups to be primarily about disciple making should call its groups, D-Groups. A group ministry that is primarily about living in Christian community doing life together would be wise to call its groups, Community Groups. You get the picture.

What you call your groups really does make a difference. Choose wisely and your groups will be much more apt to accomplish what you most long for them to accomplish.


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