Have you ever said that? If you have, you're in good company. It's one of the most common complaints of small group ministry point people.
I remember saying it myself! Of course, it was almost 20 years ago...before I discovered these 5 secrets.
5 Secrets that Make Finding More Leaders Easy
1. Ask for the right thing.
I think this is one of the easiest parts of the challenge to fix. It turns out most of us struggle because we're asking for the wrong thing. If we're not very careful, it sounds like we're asking for a lifetime commitment to something that requires a lot of energy, hours of preparation, and a selfless quality rarely found apart from Mother Teresa. Remember, the best candidates are already busy. They're already overextended in their work and at home. If you want to add leaders you're going to have to make it easier for the best candidates to ease their toe into the water. This is one of the main reasons the HOST and Small Group Connection strategies work so well. They're designed to start out as test drives.
Most of us struggle because we're asking for the wrong thing. If we're not very careful, it sounds like we're asking for a lifetime commitment to something that requires a lot of energy, hours of preparation, and a selfless quality… Click To Tweet
2. Look in the right places.
Most of us spend our time looking for potential leaders among people who are already in a group. After all, many small group models and systems have as a core premise that in order to lead a group you first have to be a member of a group. Right? But the truth is that in most cases the majority of potential leaders are not yet in a group. Unless your church is already pushing beyond 60 to 70% of your adult worship attendance in groups, the likelihood that your best candidates are already connected is pretty slim. Again, this is why the HOST and Connection strategies make so much sense. It's also why a well-executed church-wide campaign can jump start leader identification and irrevocably change the landscape in your congregation.
The truth is that in most cases the majority of potential leaders are not yet in a group. Unless your church is already pushing beyond 60 to 70% of your adult worship attendance in groups, the likelihood that your best candidates are… Click To Tweet
3. Ask the right people in the right way.
Warning: This next secret will sound like a little bit of a contradiction.
There are obviously some great people who are already in groups who ought to be leading a group. All of us see that. One of the earliest assumptions I developed was that many of the best leader candidates are pre-wired to be drawn to community and often end up in groups even in churches where there's no real emphasis in group life! You don't have to give them a reason to get connected. They're already in a group. You need to give them an inspiring reason to leave their group for a few weeks. This is why the idea of inviting your existing groups to take a small group vacation works so well. It's not permanent. It's a few weeks. And it has the potential to help many of the right people experience what it's like to move from consumer to contributor.See also, Take a Small Group Vacation.
4. Remove every unnecessary barrier.
This is a really important secret to understand because most of us have already put up barriers that keep the right people from saying "yes." For example, if I've got to be in a group first before I can lead a group, that's an unnecessary barrier. If I've got to attend a 12 session leader training course before I can lead...that's a barrier. If the only curriculum I can use requires 2 or 3 hours of preparation, that's a barrier. Think very carefully about the barriers you put up. Eliminate all but the most essential guardrails. Think test-drive. Think baby-steps. Think about making it easy to get started. You can help new leaders get started with an easy to attend orientation. You can build in on-the-job coaching. You can offer decentralized skill training huddles led by your coaches.
5. Use the right person to make the ask.
The churches that are having the most small group ministry success, that are building the most effective systems, are the churches where the senior pastor is the small group champion. End of story. If you're not getting your senior pastor in the game on a full-time basis...you're missing out on the best way to enlist more of the very best people as leaders. This is why building in a message series with built-in host recruitment before your church-wide campaign makes so much sense. Don't miss this important trick! It will make a huge difference in your situation.
The last time I said, "I can't find enough leaders" was about 20 years ago. That's when I began discovering the strategies that started me on the boundary-free path.
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