Whatever you want to happen at the member level, will have to happen to the leader first.
Some things are self evident, aren’t they? If you want the members of your groups to know what it’s like to be prayed for, to be cared for, to be loved unconditionally, to be challenged appropriately…their leaders absolutely must have already experienced that. See also, Life-Change at the Member Level.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing. Your small group leaders can only give away what they’ve personally experienced. The question is, how will that happen? Think you can pull them off the shelf that way? Nope. You must know that whatever you want your leaders to be able to give away, you will need to give your coaches.
Remember, very little about coaching has to do with teaching technique to leaders. Once a leader has been leading their group for more than about 90 days…what they really need is someone a few steps ahead who will help them grow in Christ. See also, How Much of Coaching Is About Technique?
7 Practices for Developing and Discipling Your Coaches
- Get to know your coaches. Whatever else you do, ask questions. Find out about their families and friends, their work, their hobbies, and their hopes. Take notes. Nothing says you’re actually listening like remembering to ask about it the next time you talk.
- Meet with your coaches both individually and as a group. It will always be tempting to use email as the way you connect and distribute information or assignments. Don’t fall for it. Meet for coffee. Meet for lunch. Meet for coffee and dessert. If you have an agenda, make doing life together the number one agenda item.
- Get out of town with your coaches. Take a Friday night and Saturday morning. Bring along a movie to watch and games to play and plenty to eat. It doesn’t have to be an expensive get away. It doesn’t even need to be very far away. Just far enough to make spending the night the only option.
- Memorize scripture verses or passage with your coaches. Choose verses that apply to spiritual growth or maturity. Make the assignment regularly. Check progress. Make a game out of it.
- Develop your coaches’ spiritual habits. Share what you do in your quiet time. Talk about what God is saying to you. Ask your coaches what God is saying to them. Model a lifestyle they can pass on to the leaders in their coaching huddle. See also, 8 Commitments for Small Group Leaders and 8 Habits of Life-Exchanging Small Group Leaders.
- Do a study with your coaches. Choose a study that will stretch them and you. Meet monthly to discuss and apply. One of my favorite studies for this is Fully Devoted and another is Simplicity.
- Read a book with your coaches. Choose a book that will open your coach’s eyes to leadership principles. Some of my favorites are Practically Radical, The Leadership Challenge, and Good to Great. Give a reading assignment and meet monthly to talk over learnings and applications.
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