10 Essential Small Group Leader Skills

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My purpose at MarkHowellLive is to help pastors and small group champions build stronger small group ministries. Most of the articles here are about strategies that will help build what I call boundary-free small group ministries.

Within the knowledge base there are some important articles designed to help train small group leaders in key areas. Here are 10 of what I believe are essential leader skills:

1. Top 10 Ways to Learn to Pray Together Since the number one fear for most people is public speaking...it just makes sense that praying out loud would be a challenge for the average adult.  Here are my top 10 ideas to help groups learn to pray together.

2. Help Leaders Choose Their Next Curriculum The hand-off from one study to the next is one of the most critical moments in the life of a group...especially a brand new small group.  Here's how to make it easier.

3. Sub-Grouping for Deeper Connection Once a group grows beyond about 5 or 6 people it becomes a little too large for a conversation that includes everyone.  Here's how to make it more likely that everyone gets involved.

4. Top 10 Ways to Find New Members Help your leaders help their members to learn to find and invite their own new members.

5. Equip Leaders to Help Members Plan to Grow If you want your members to grow, you'll need to help your leaders learn to make the path more likely.  Here's how to do it.

6. How to Stimulate Better Discussions Groups where the leader does all the talking are really just smaller versions of the weekend service.  Help everyone get engaged in the conversation with this training.

7. How to Use a Small Group Agreement One of the best ways to help groups navigate the choppy waters of group life is to have the anchor of an agreement.  Here's how to implement one and what to do next.

8. Help Your Groups Make It Through Summer and the Holidays Few things derails a group like an extended break.  Teaching leaders what to do over the summer and surviving the holidays are two essential skills.

9. Implement the Power of a Spiritual Training Partner Accountability is tough to implement or take advantage of without intentionality.  Here's how to get started.

10 Finding a Balance in Your Group Helping group leaders learn to balance the biblical purposes is what helps their group become more than a holy huddle.  This is not a purpose driven idea...it's an essential skill for small group leaders.

These were the top 10 when this article was written. Since then I've added many more in Leader Tips and Leader Training.

If you're looking for more help, you might want to check out 7 Must Have Resources for Training Small Group Leaders (points you to a great list of 7 of my favorite small group ministry books on leader training).

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  1. Jojie M. Pestanas on November 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Sir thank God for your ministry. I’m just new in browsing your help tips for small groups. those ideas really help me in my new ministry here in the Philippines….  Jojie 

  2. Christine Willhelmen on May 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the great info. on leadership traits and training expectations as a church leader.  I am a mother of an autistic son and a strong-willed daughter.  I am also a reading specialist, 1st grade support.  I need to spend hours each week finding materials to match my student’s age, ability, interest level, comprehension skills, distraction issues, etc.  My very large church ( 5 campuses) uses chronological age to break children into groups:  2yr old-5, 6-11, 12-15, +16-8-which is great.  The problem is, the 1st graders and 5th graders are so far apart in every aspect of academic, social and physical development, our hour per group is a hot mess.  I get so nervous watching our very young and cute pastor do cartwheels off the stage at the end of the praise songs, rattles off the “memorize verse of the week” so fast the kids usually misunderstand at least 1 key word (they come back the next week with some pretty funny adaptations), and plays the same video “message” (sometimes up to 40 minutes straight through) expecting 6 year olds to handle that kind of inactivity.  I would love to see some training regarding differentiation, ability levels vs grade level, “multiple intelligences: and inclusion.  Sorry for rattling on-passionate about what is best for kids! Thanks again!

  3. Anonymous on May 29, 2012 at 6:38 am

    You’re asking for an important thing, Christine, but all of my content is focused primarily on adult small groups, spiritual formation and discipleship. I’m sure there are sites dedicated to the kinds of learning you need to do…but they are outside of my knowledge base.