Steve Gladen attended Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies with minors in Greek and Philosophy in 1982. From there he moved to Pasadena, California and received a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling in 1985.

Steve worked on 4 church staffs prior to joining the staff at Saddleback Church in February of 1998 as the Pastor of Small Groups. He now oversees over 3,500 adult small groups at Saddleback. He co-wrote several books and small group materials including: 250 Big Ideas for Small Groups, Building Healthy Small Groups in Your Church, and Don’t Lead Alone. With over 20 years in leading small group ministries, Steve loves seeing a big church become small through true community developed in group life. He has been married to his wife Lisa since 1989 and resides in Southern California with his two children, Erika and Ethan.


 Small Groups With Purpose

Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy CommunitiesSmall Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities
Steve M. Gladen
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Discover five key biblical purposes that will help your ministry fulfill the Great Commission! Combining personal stories, Scripture, and real-life examples, Gladen---Saddleback's small-group pastor---outlines a step-by-step process for building successful programs that's suitable for any size church. Includes end-of-chapter questions to help leaders assess their current situation. Foreword by Rick Warren. 288 pages, hardcover from Baker.

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Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities - eBook

Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities - eBook
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 Small Group Kits

Small Group Leadership Training KitSmall Group Leadership Training Kit
Steve Gladen, Brett Eastman, Todd Olthoff
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This 10-CD Small Group Leader Training Kit will help you train your small group leaders to balance the biblical purposes from the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. This resource is designed for you, as the point person for the small group ministry. Inside this kit you will find everything you need to train Small Group Leaders at your church. All files are provided in electronic form so you can tailor our Leadership Development Pathway to your small group system with your logo, your information, your program.

Includes the following:

Leader Training 1: This is our foundational training, offered to every small group leader (Host) at Saddleback. It provides them with the basic training necessary to lead an effective small group. Also includes the Spiritual Health Assessment and Spiritual Health Planner.

Leader Training 2: This is our continuing advanced leader training that begins with modules based on the five biblical purposes:

  • Character: focuses on the biblical character traits of leaders and how they intersect with your life (Worship)
  • Skills: teaches common skills needed to build a healthy small group community (Fellowship)
  • Health: focuses on how to build a healthy Purpose Driven Small Group that strives to balance and fulfill all five biblical purposes in small group community (Discipleship)
  • Empower: gives Small Group Hosts the vision and tools to mobilize their small group for service (Ministry)
  • P.E.A.C.E.: focuses on how small groups can be an instrumental part of the PEACE Plan (Evangelism)

Each training module in this kit includes:
  1. Audio File
  2. Instructor Guide
  3. Student Guide
  4. PowerPoint
  5. File with transcript of the training.



 More Small Group Resources

Designing a Healthy Small Group Ministry, 6 DVDs & 1  Workbook on CDDesigning a Healthy Small Group Ministry, 6 DVDs & 1 Workbook on CD
Steve Gladen
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This 6-DVD set (with a workbook on CD) will teach you the essentials of implementing a Small Group Ministry at your church. Learn from Steve Gladen, Pastor of the Small Group Community at Saddleback Church, with over 20 years in Small Group Ministry and on staff at Saddleback Church since 1998. During this time, Saddleback's Small Group Ministry has grown from 280 adult small groups to over 3,500 adult small groups balancing the Great Commission and Great Commandment and growing individuals in spiritual health.

Discover how you can take these learnings and apply them to your Small Group Ministry. This resource comes with an electronic workbook on CD and the sessions include:

    It's best to start with the end in mind. What are you really trying to accomplish through your small group ministry? Do your small group leaders clearly understand their assignment? How do you know if you are being successful? How do small groups fit into your church's overall strategy and vision?

    Most churches consider themselves successful if they have half of their weekly attendance in small groups. But the truth is that every person needs a small group family. No matter what the size of your church, you can dramatically increase the percentage of your members in small groups.

    Have you ever noticed that Christians tend to know more than they practice? Do you want your small group leaders to learn to help transform people instead of just informing them? See how small groups can serve as perfect incubators for spiritual growth.

    Research has shown that people fail to serve, not because they don't want to, but because they haven't been asked or haven't been offered specific opportunities. Learn how small groups are the perfect tool to catalyze and mobilize your people for ministry.

    How do authentic community and passionate evangelism fit together in small group life? Can they? Research says that most Christians place evangelism low on their list of God's biblical purposes. So how do you get people to reach out beyond their comfort zone of Christian friends?

    Do you think of worship as listening to the latest CD in your car? Is it just the first part of your weekend church service? What does worship look like in a small group? Worship is more than music. Discover how to create an environment that will help your groups experience the awe of God.


DVD Small Group Leader Training, 3 DVDs & 1 PDFDVD Small Group Leader Training, 3 DVDs & 1 PDF
Steve Gladen
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In this 3-DVD set (with a PDF workbook on CD), Pastor Steve Gladen trains your Small Group leaders how to foster spiritually healthy small groups by balancing the Great Commission and Great Commandment in their groups.

Steve helps leaders understand how groups fit into the overall church plan and then teaches them how to make their group a Biblical model of what Jesus taught throughout the New Testament.

The first lesson is about discovering the essentials. Leaders need to get a philosophical overview of small groups and know where they are taking their group. To lead a group, you need to know where you're going. Beginning with the end in mind will help them be a successful small group. This interactive first session will help your leaders answer critical questions such as, "what's the philosophy for small groups in our church" and "what goals do we want to achieve?"

Next, Steve helps small group leaders determine their group's purpose. A successful group balances all five of the Biblical purposes not only in the group but also in the lives of each member. How can you measure the "health" of a small group? And how do you help leaders measure group health and begin to chart a course for balance? This session includes discussion time on practical tools to measure the health of your small groups. Each group will also develop their own plan to grow their group in health.

Don't Lead Alone, 6-CD SetDon't Lead Alone, 6-CD Set
Steve Gladen, Lance Witt
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What do you do after a churchwide campaign in order to build a strong and dynamic small group ministry?

This 6-CD set will give your small groups the empowerment they need to get everyone in their small group involved. This is the easiest way for groups to get every one of their members to "own" the group.

The small group leader listens to CD 1, then selects people within the group to whom to give each of the five "purpose" CDs. As each person listens to the CD given them, they get an idea of what God might do through them as they champion one of the biblical purposes in the group, and they are challenged to take on this important ministry function.

This CD set will absolutely launch your small groups into doing amazing things for the Kingdom.

This kit includes six training CDs, complete with pastoral instruction, practical examples, proven strategies, personal insights, and printed cards to help Small Group Leaders recruit and empower their group members to become purpose champions in their small group.

CD 1: An overview for the Small Group Leader on the Purpose Driven Small Group model
CD 2: An orientation for the Fellowship champion

CD 3: An orientation for the Discipleship champion

CD 4: An orientation for the Ministry champion

CD 5: An orientation for the Evangelism champion

CD 6: An orientation for the Worship champion

Building Healthy Small Groups In Your Church, 4 CDsBuilding Healthy Small Groups In Your Church, 4 CDs
Steve Gladen, Lance Witt
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This 4-CD set answers the most commonly asked small group questions from pastors and leaders who have completed a churchwide campaign. Each CD contains strategies, tools, and insights to help you harness the momentum of small groups that began during the churchwide campaign. These CDs will help you take the next steps to continue the deepening of Gods' purpose in the lives of your people and your small groups.

This CD series is taught by Pastor Steve Gladen and Pastor Lance Witt. Between the two of them, they have over thirty years of experience leading small groups. As you emerge out of the whirlwind of the campaign, these CDs will help you as a pastor to sustain the momentum of building a healthy small group ministry in your church.

After listening to pastors around the globe who have completed churchwide campaigns, four questions quickly rose to the top:

  • Where do small groups fit in my church?
  • How do I set up a healthy small group structure?
  • How do I turn Hosts into Leaders?
  • How do I sustain the momentum?

If you have completed a churchwide campaign or are considering one in your church, Building Healthy Small Groups in Your Church is a must!


Spiritual Health Assessment & Planner w/CDSpiritual Health Assessment & Planner w/CD
Steve Gladen
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The greatest challenge in most churches today is the ability to measure the human heart. The Spiritual Health Assessment and Health Planner is the one tool that helps measure the level of spiritual health in the human heart and gives individuals an action plan to help people grow in their walk with Christ.

The Purpose Driven Spiritual Health Assessment and Spiritual Health Planner includes:

  • a self-assessment

  • a Friend Feedback assessment to be filled out by a spiritual partner or mentor

  • a Spiritual Health Plan form

  • a table for each purpose containing recommended crawl, walk, and run steps for every question on the assessment

  • resource pages for each purpose with recommended books, small group studies, and practical suggestions

  • all the files on CD-ROM to customize the planner and print for your church including: a Spiritual Health Assessment, which includes a copy of the assessment you give to friends to help assess your life, and a Spiritual Health Planner which gives practical crawl, walk, and run suggestions for each of the questions on the assessment.

Your groups and group members can test themselves to see how they are balancing the biblical purposes. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give your groups a tool to get regular checkups. For your spiritual health you need to regularly check and balance the five vital signs of a healthy Christian life:
  • Worship: You were planned for God’s pleasure

  • Fellowship: You were formed for God’s family

  • Discipleship: You were created to become like Christ

  • Ministry: You were shaped for serving God

  • Evangelism: You were made for a mission

This tool will give your groups and group members a snapshot of their spiritual health, pinpoint areas that may need attention, and help them develop a plan to bring God's five purposes for their lives into balance.
Brett Eastman