high jumpWho can lead a group in your system?  How are you framing your leader qualification pathway?  Are you lowering the bar to help launch more groups and connect more people?  Are you raising the bar in order to deliver the kind of leadership that actually makes disciples?  Or maybe what you’ve got in the way of a system doesn’t even have a bar?

How are you working this issue?  Have you got it figured out?  And is there a right way to do it?  Or a best way?

Can I tell you something?  I don’t think there’s a right way or a best way that works for every church.  Instead, what you’re trying to do ought to inform the way you land on leader qualification.  Remember, there is no problem-free.  Wise leaders simply figure out which set of problems they’d rather have.  What are the problems in the higher bar/lower bar scenario?  Here are what I think is the upside and the main problems:

Lowering the bar in terms of who can lead:

  • Upside: You potentially have a much larger leader recruiting class.  If your HOST candidates invite their own friends to fill their groups, you’ll be able to reach into the community.  Whether you use the HOST strategy or the Small Group Connection strategy, there is often a greater acceptance of coaching.
  • ProblemsMessy comes with the territory.  You know going in that there is a higher potential for the stuff that is messy (i.e., you will end up with HOST volunteers who are unmarried but live together, you’ll have volunteers who not only aren’t members but aren’t Christ-followers, etc.).  While there are ways to mitigate many of the problems, they’re still problems.

Raising the Bar in terms of who can lead:

  • Upside: You can have higher expectations in terms of a vetted leader’s potential to make disciples.  There is potentially less mess than the lower bar approach.
  • Problems: You will probably have trouble recruiting and vetting enough leaders to connect beyond a certain percentage of weekend adult attendees.  Your recruiting will be limited to those candidates who are known by staff and key leaders or who are willing to respond to an invitation to enter the leader training program that you’ve initiated.  This is a challenge because once a church grows beyond several hundred adults it is increasingly unlikely that the staff knows everyone.  Additionally, since there are a large number of high capacity but unconnected adults in most growing churches, a higher bar often excludes many potential leaders.  See also, Small Group Ministry Myth #4: High Leader Entry Requirements Ensure Safety in the Flock.

I have a set of convictions and those convictions make it easy to choose the set of problems I’d rather have.  What about you?

What do you think?  Which set of problems would you rather have?  Have a question?  Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Image by Sangudo