I always say there's an upside and a downside to everything.
And that is never more true than during a season like today!
What could possibly be an upside about a season like today? Well, for starters, your small group leaders and coaches are probably very open to help and encouragement. You know how I've often told you that experienced leaders are usually uninterested in coaching? That's not true in a time like this. Especially if the coaching is coming from you.
When coaching takes the shape of help and encouragement, it is usually really well received in a challenging moment.
Here are some ways you can provide help and encouragement right now.
1. Send your leaders a short weekly email with a few simple tips and ideas
Send your leaders a short weekly email with a few simple tips and ideas for caring for their group members. It can be a short paragraph of encouragement and two or three ways your leaders can provide personalized care for members. Close the email with a request for help (i.e., "What's your best idea for caring for your members?")
2. Invite your leaders and coaches into a daily devotional reading and prayer
Think about the devotional experience provided by 40 Days of Purpose (or another church-wide campaign). There is something powerful when everyone is reading the same scripture and praying about it for a season. The YouVersion Bible App has a wide variety of options. Jesus Calling is very popular. You can also find many online devotionals that are free.
3. Text (or email) a simple message of encouragement
A short text or email goes a long way as a reminder that you are praying for them. Adding a scripture verse to a simple encouragement is always appreciated. Example: "I'm praying for you as you gather your group this week! 'Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).'"
Note: This also works well when you contact coaches and ask them to contact the leaders in their huddle with a similar message.
4. Invite your leaders and coaches to a video call
Invite your leaders and coaches to a video call (Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and Google Duo are easy to use). If you can't get everyone together in person, a video call is the next best thing. Schedule the call at a convenient time for most. Thank your leaders and coaches for what they're doing. Give them an idea or two of things they can do with their group this week. Thank them again and open it up for questions. Be sure and dismiss those who can't stay on the call.
5. Call a few of your leaders every day
A short, encouraging phone call can make a big difference when times are challenging. Ask how things are going. Ask how you can pray for them. Pray for them right then (Be sure and note what their prayer request was. That way, when you call them or see them you can follow up.) Encourage them to do the same thing with their group members.
Note If you have coaches in place, call your coaches, model a simple encouragement and ask them to do the same with the leaders in their huddle.