Envision, Encourage and Equip Your Leaders with This 25 Year Old Idea

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What’s your plan to inspire your small group leaders?  If they’re ever going to break out of the status quo, stay within the lines patterns of what you’ve already done, they need a regular dose of vision.

What’s your plan to care for small group leaders over the long haul?  And remember, whatever you want your small group members to experience has to happen first in the lives of your leaders.  Leaders need regular encouragement from someone a few steps ahead.

What about skill training?  What’s your plan to help raw recruits become seasoned small group leaders?  If you want a network of the kind of leaders that are much more than hosts you’ll need more than hope.  You need a plan.

A 25 Year Old Idea…that works

One of the very best ideas to come out of Carl George’s ground-breaking classic, Prepare Your Church for the Future, was the notion of notion of VHS.  Not that kind of VHS.  I’m talking about Vision Huddle and Skill; a periodic meeting that includes all three components.

Here’s how it works:

Vision: This component is a great opportunity for your senior pastor to cast vision.  Part of being the small group champion is serving as the primary vision caster for your small group leaders.  Tell life-change stories.  Connect the great accounts of God’s heart for unconnected people with life in community.  Make heroes out of small group leaders who embrace your values.

True story?  One of the best lessons I ever learned was to make sure my senior pastor was the one telling the stories.  Listen.  I am a great storyteller.  But no one has more influence and can inspire like a senior pastor who hopes to connect far beyond the usual suspects.

Huddle: Integrating an opportunity for coaches to gather their leaders for 30 to 60 minutes is a beautiful thing.  It’s always a good thing for a coach to get one on one time with a leader.  It’s even better to gather all of their leaders in one circle.  Few practices have the potential of a group of leaders talking over what’s working, what’s not working, what’s next, and how everyone can pray for them.  See also, Four Questions Every Coach Should Be Asking.

By the way, this component is also the best opportunity I’ve ever discovered for providing a kind of coaching for leaders of existing small groups.  If you’ve been at this for any length of time, you know that retroactively assigning coaches to existing leaders almost never works.  Like a bad organ transplant it is rejected nearly every time.  Is there a work-around?  Yes.  This segment can be used to group existing leaders by affinity, life-stage or geography and give them a way to experience mutual care.  See also, How to Implement Coaching for Existing Leaders.

Skill: Taking 30 minutes to teach a skill allows newer leaders to grow in their abilities and experienced leaders to pass on their best practices.  You can provide more than one breakout, even with fewer than 10 leaders.  You can provide one breakout if you have a key idea you want to emphasize (like Designing Your Meeting for Life-Change, Developing More Leaders or Using a Small Group Agreement).

If your coaches are listening and reporting what your leaders are struggling with, it will be easy to provide skill training that matters to your small group leaders.  Alternatively, simply surveying your leaders and asking “what’s the best part of your meeting?” and “what’s the worst part of your meeting?” will go a long way toward figuring out which skill training topics will make the biggest difference.

Vision. Huddle. Skill.  This is a great idea…that works.

What do you think?  Have a question?  Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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