What is the Small Groups Network (SGN)?
Why does the SGN exist?
• Build relationships
Ministry can be a lonely calling. We need to have others around us who know our challenges and our victories.
• Support and encourage one another
When we have others around us doing similar ministry we can go farther, together!
We all have great ideas. When we exchange ideas and resources, learn from others—together we can more effectively grow the Kingdom.
Contact us for more information
Who are The Navigators?
For more information on The Navigators of Canada please visit our National site.
What To Expect
Meet together in regional Forum’s - meaningful interaction using focused topic discussions; sharing ideas, strategies and resources to become more effective as ministry leaders. You will have the chance to interact with some of the best ministry practioner’s in North America. While the SGN exists to encourage and enrich the small group ministries within local congregations, we often expand our discussions to include discipleship and evangelism strategies and approaches that affect the overall health and success of a church.
Typically regional Network Forum’s are about 2-3 hours in length and meet three times over the ministry calendar year. There is usually a preparation component for each Forum (book, articles to read beforehand).
We sponsor leadership training through seminars and conferences such as the annual SGN Symposium. Past Symposium’s have had expert small group voices such as, Bill Donahue, Scott Boren, Heather Zempel, Greg Ogden, and Rick Howerton. The Network also facilitates leadership training for small group leaders by bringing Network churches together for cooperative training.
“As the pastor responsible for group life in our growing church, I am always trying to stay on top of the developing trends and new resources to help churches make disciples in the context of community. And I am always looking for brothers and sisters in the same boat to share our learnings and experiences with one another. The reason why I love the SGN is because it helps me accomplish both! I encourage you wholeheartedly to join your regional branch (London / K-W /GTA) and grow in your leadership.”
— Dan Brubacher, Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries, West Park Church, London
An Annual Event
Everyone is invited to the SGN one day symposium for ministry leaders, pastors and interested small group leaders and coaches. You do not have to be a SGN member church to attend. It is a wonderful opportunity to network and interact with other leaders across Ontario while being challenged by an invited speaker on a specific topic related to small group ministry. Past speakers include Rick Howerton, Heather Zempel, Alan Nelson, Scott Boren and other well known ministry leaders.
Testimonials from SGN members:
Rick Wukasch, Oakville Associate Pastor, The Meeting House
“Since its inception, the Small Groups Network has been a greenhouse for my development as a pastor/coach of small group ministries. In his own informed, laid back, and hospitable style, Dennis Funk consistently has led these geographic clusters of church leaders with fresh ideas, the latest resources, his own thorough book reviews, webinars, conferences, networking, and general support – bravo, Dennis! When I want to find a book on this and most other topics, Dennis is my go-to guy. Our regular SGN Forums have become “do not miss” events where the rich camaraderie of friends who also have been on this journey together makes the drive and time well worthwhile. Sharing experience with and learning from other leaders in small group ministry is gold. I always come away with a clearer sense of where we are hitting the mark, and where we have things to pray over, contextualize, change or improve. Highly recommended resource for churches who really want to foster spiritual formation and missional outreach in vibrant community!”
Julianne August, Director of Small Groups, Compass Community Church
“This year I discovered the benefits of the SGN network! Up until recently, I had been aware of SGN but admittedly only plugged into the yearly Symposium. My commitment to personal development as a small group director this ministry year, led me to attend the regular SGN forums in my area. These forums have proven to be a great source of encouragement and have connected me with other group life leaders at local churches nearby. Each forum has a learning component based on a book or article, often a conference call with a key international small group expert and an opportunity to discuss and share resources that have been useful on the front lines in ministry. This year I’ve learned that SGN Ontario is partnering with SGN in the U.S. opening the doors for further resourcing and opportunities for development. SGN keeps me up to date with what is going on in small group life on a broader scale. I value their commitment to quality and have benefited from plugging in fully this year.”
Gord Brown (Pastor of Group Life), Heritage Park Alliance Church, Windsor
“I have participated regularly in the SGNetwork since 2003. Group life for our church family is the key component of our grow strategy, The SGN quarterly half day gatherings with other church SG leaders or workshops and conference calls continue to keep us abreast of the trends as well as giving new insights that keep us engaged in the process of shaping group life in our respective church communities. I pick up at least one insight from every meeting I attend that helps me to assess what can be done to strengthen and grow group life in our community. One of the most valuable aspects of SGN is making friends with others in this ministry and learning from them in focused and casual conversations during our time together. It truly has become a support network, I value highly and make a priority, it also has become a place where I find many resources for the Group life ministry.”
Lois Hardy, Deacon of Small Groups, Heart Lake Baptist Church, Brampton
“I have been involved with the GTA Small Group Network for several years and consider it an essential resource and support to me as the small groups deacon at our church. Meeting with other pastors and lay people who are responsible for small group ministry is a great way to encourage each other, share ideas and discuss shared frustrations. Dennis does an amazing job of sourcing out pertinent, fresh, timely books on small group issues and I have often taken these back to our senior leadership to give a different perspective on issues of community and discipleship that we're currently dealing with. The SGN reaffirms for me why I believe in small group ministry and equips me to persevere.”
Murray Martin, Discipleship/Small Groups Pastor, Wallenstein Bible Chapel
“SGN has been a great support to me, a small groups coordinator, in connecting me with others who are in similar ministry. Just being able to swap stories with others in our local region and hearing the things they are experiencing is an encouragement to me. At each SGN there are materials made available that is challenging and encouraging. I have met people through SGN, that I would have never met otherwise, who have a lot of small group experience to offer. It is great to be able to hear different ways small groups are conducted other places and it allows me to take some things home with me that I can use immediately. Other times I hear ideas and they go into the information drawer for me and, who knows, it might be valuable some day.!”
Willemina Zwart, Pastor of Good News Christian Reformed Church, London
“I have been part of the SGN of Navigators since the fall of 2003. When I changed churches, I made sure to advise my new church that we become members of SGN. Why? For a variety of reasons. Dennis is an amazing fount of knowledge when it comes to books, bible studies and video series relevant to ministry. In fact, several sermon series have been developed based on recommendations he gave--and all have been received well by my respective congregations. I really appreciate the camaraderie, shared knowledge and accountability of the quarterly forum meetings. As we meet with fellow small group professionals and lay leadership, I find I scavenge ideas for my ministry context. Plus, these meetings keep me current with the latest books and ideas concerning small groups. Even if I can't read the entire book upon which our forum focuses, then Dennis gives us the "readers' digest version" which is very helpful and accessible. Finally, I appreciate the symposiums I have been able to attend. The speakers have been winsome, relevant and challenging. I usually come home with at least several key take-aways. So, I heartily recommend that any church investigate and invest in a membership with SGN. You won't regret it.”
Small Group Network
Our United States partner
It's free, with no obligation and you decide your level of participation. Churches can be members of both Networks.
The Small Group Network (www.smallgroupnetwork.com) was founded by Steve Gladen of Saddleback Church.
Local Leaders host “huddles” in their vicinity. A huddle is a gathering of Small Group Point People which may be as simple as two or three people meeting over a cup of coffee or as elaborate as a Small Group Conference. The idea is to connect Small Group Ministry Leaders because We’re Better Together. Contact us if there are no huddles organized in your area – we would be pleased to help you launch one.
Membership Benefits: Joining the SGN automatically entitles you to…
- Free subscription to their monthly E-newsletter
- Member discounts for small group conferences (TWELVE Conference)
- Access to the "members only" content specifically designed for Small Group Point People and Network members
- Access to some of the finest leaders of Small Group Ministries in North America via GroupTalk (free phone conference calls)
- Local Leaders “huddles” in their vicinity (if available).