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Primary Purpose Small Groups

By Mark Elliott, 2011

My good friend and fellow pastor Dr. Mark Elliott has written an outstanding book on the whole business of small groups. His doctoral research project was conducted in the area of small groups and included reading 150 books on the subject.

Primary Purpose Small Groups builds a rock-solid theological foundation for the creation and growth of small groups in community. Elliott does a great job articulating the history of small groups, and tracing it all the way to the present—with current illustrations.

Throughout the book, the author paints a clear picture of a variety of small group models. The Pure Cell, Combination, Breakthrough, Willow Creek, G12 and Free Market models are all described. He answers questions such as “How are relationships built? How is discipleship done? How is evangelism done? How is multiplication done?” Every pastor in America wants answers to these questions. Elliott further articulates the estimated number of people appropriate for each model, the commitment expected, the fundamental premise, and the unique features of each.

Anyone who has ever dabbled at the edges of small groups is familiar with the difference between being a church of small groups versus being a church with small groups. There is a big difference. The book addresses this issue.

Frankly, I’m very impressed with the practical nature of this book. It is easy for an author to get theoretical in his writing. Mark Elliott did not do this in Primary Purpose Small Groups. If a pastor will read this book with a heart open to what God could do in his or her church through small groups—or what God could do to improve an already existing small group ministry—the sky is the limit to what He will do in discipleship through community.

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