Community • Intentionality • Mutual Ministry

Harvest Small Groups are the primary way to practice the biblical one-anothers at Harvest. The goal of Harvest’s Small Group ministry is to provide personal care and discipleship within our church so that disciples would be strengthened in their walk with Christ. A typical Harvest Small Group meeting consists of a full group discussion on the sermon or other approved biblical curriculum, followed by a smaller (gender specific) group time of accountability and prayer, and fellowship. Meetings are approximately two hours in length and each group consists of 8-16 members.


“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25


Why Small Groups?


We are made for community because we are made in the image of our Triune God (Gen 1:26). Community permeates the Old Testament as men like Moses (cf Ex 18; Ex 35) and David (cf Ps 122) and Ezra (cf Neh 8) demonstrated the importance of both large gatherings and small groups. We see this idea of community emphasized, especially in the ministry of Jesus. The primary focus of Jesus’ public ministry was not with the masses but rather with a small group of disciples that He did life with. This original small group changed the world!

Also, we see that the believers of the early church followed the model of their Savior, gathering at the temple and in homes (Acts 2:42-47). While Acts is simply describing the practice of the early church, it does provide a principle for us today: discipleship involves both corporate worship services and times in smaller groups (Acts 5:42; 20:20; 1 Cor 16:19; Col 4:15)


We truly believe that one of the best ways to care for people personally and to disciple people intentionally is through small groups. Small groups are a place not only to be known but to be loved! They are an additional step beyond our weekend worship services to grow in the Lord and His Word. They also provide a context for people to grow in the Lord by practicing the “one-another” commands of Scripture. Ultimately, they provide the best environment where close-knit relationships can truly be cultivated for the glory of God.


Each Small Group seeks to be an “Uncommon Community” of disciples who want to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus daily (Matt 16:24). Small groups are designed to challenge men and women to grow as faithful and fruitful followers of Jesus Christ. We aim to increase our capacity to worship Christ, walk with Christ, and work for Christ.

In this, we desire to reflect Jesus’ expectations that his disciples would be known by their love for one another (John 13:35). When a diversity of people unify under the gospel of Jesus Christ in the church, it makes God’s wise plan of salvation known (Eph 3:10-11). The concrete ways we work towards this in small group is through the practice of the M&Ms: mission (Matt 28:18-20; 5:16), mutual ministry (one-anothers), and multiplication (2 Tim 2:2).


Each Small Group focuses on these elements:

  • Knowledge – growing in our understanding of who God is and what He is calling us to.
  • Community – providing care and support both inside and outside of the group time.
  • Application – allowing God’s truth to transform the way we live our lives.
  • Accountability – developing mutual disclosure leading to increased obedience.
    • Example accountability questions:
      • How is your prayer life going?
      • How is your Bible intake going?
      • Who are you discipling, and how is it going?
      • Who are you evangelizing, and how is it going?
      • How is your service inside and outside the body going?
      • How are you honoring God in your marriage, and what needs to keep growing?
      • How are you honoring God in your parenting, and what needs to keep growing?
What Are the Expectations of Small Group Members?

The following are guidelines for every small group member to pursue and practice, not in a legalistic way but in a way that aims at an uncommon community. This list attempts to define the spirit of a Harvest Small Group—a group of brothers and sisters in Christ seeking to “do life” and practice the Biblical one-another’s together.

  • I will make my Small Group meetings a priority, and if I’m unable to attend or running late, I will communicate with my small group leader.
  • I will come to my Small Group meeting prepared and ready to participate.
  • I will commit to focusing on application of God’s Word to my life.
  • I will maintain confidentiality of the personal information that is shared within my Small Group. I understand my small group leader may communicate appropriate information to those in leadership as necessary, and I trust his or her discernment in this.
  • I will be accountable to my group concerning my personal and spiritual goals.
  • I will commit to a group that is open to new members, and as it grows, we will seek to multiply to further God’s work.
  • I will encourage other members to cultivate a daily dependence on and pursuit of God.
  • I will pursue opportunities to share what God has done in our lives with those that do not know Jesus Christ.
  • I will pray and support the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel to continue to seek God’s direction for our Harvest Small Group Ministry.
Small Group Ministry Structure and Leadership Expectations

Each Small Group is led by a couple or individuals who have undergone a 6-month apprentice training process before stepping into the Small Group Leader role. These Small Group Leaders are grouped into Teams to provide an atmosphere of encouragement and care amongst leaders. These Teams are also overseen by Small Group Coaches. These coaches are all either current or former leaders who help to provide additional oversight, care, and accountability for 2-4 Small Groups. These Small Group Coaches are also under the care and oversight of the Pastor/Director of the Small Group Ministry.

The expectations for both Small Group Leaders and Small Group Coaches can be found here:

Small Group Leader

Small Group Coach

Small Group Pastor/Director

What Are Some Recommended Small Group Studies?

There are many helpful and edifying resources out there. If you are looking for a study for your small group or for you personally, please check out our Churchwide Recommended Resources.

Also, as a reminder, small group leaders should confirm with their small group coach before beginning a new study with their group.

Join a Harvest Small Group

Various groups meet at different times throughout the week at host homes. Groups gather all over Des Moines and the surrounding areas, so there is likely a small group near you. We will do our very best to place you with others who meet at a time and place that fits your schedule.