I’ll be adding some additional notes here that will help you process the information from today’s Group Talk conference call.
Here’s a link to the audio from the call: bit.ly/iAR7H3
There are two starting point ideas that ought to enter the discussion before you do anything else:
- There is no problem free: As you begin thinking about finding new leaders (or any project), it’s important to remember that there is no problem-free. Every leader identification strategy has a set of problems that come with it. Wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have (See The Pursuit of Problem Free).
- “What would have to be true for the option on the table to be a fantastic choice?” I love this line by Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management. His book, The Design of Business was a great read and I highly recommend it. Here’s an article on the HBR site where you can read more about it.
Six Ways to Find New Small Group Leaders
New Leader Training: Holding a periodic new leader training course, advertising it in the bulletin and website, announcing it at the weekend service, inviting prospective new leaders to attend it…are all wrapped up in the least effective way to find new leaders.
Apprenticing: The idea that every leader ought to be apprenticing a leader-in-training is powerful. It’s also a deeply biblical idea, evidenced in the way Jesus operated (as well as Paul and many others). At the same time, I believe that while apprenticing can be effective, it is rarely implemented effectively. More often than not, apprentices operate as fill ins when the leader is out of town. (See Top 10 Axiomatic Beliefs of GroupLife, How Important Is It to Have an Apprentice (part one) and part two).
Small Group Connection: The small group connection strategy is one of the most powerful ways to find new leaders. (See my 5 part series How to Launch Groups Using a Small Group Connection)
Take a Small Group Vacation: Language is everything. Although potential leaders are easy to spot on the rosters of existing groups, it’s not easy to persuade them to leave their group to start a new one. Especially when it’s described as a permanent move. On the other hand, inviting entire groups to take a small group vacation often produces waves of new groups (that start with a temporary move that can become permanent). (See also Take a Small Group Vacation!)
Church-Wide Campaign (using the HOST strategy): This strategy is a game-changer. While the connection strategy is a great way to find new leaders, it connects the people who come to the event. Because the HOST strategy includes the idea that the host fills their own group, it actually connects in a much wider fashion.
Grab-and-Go: When used along with a church-wide campaign, grab-and-go lowers the leader bar another notch.
My article Top 5 Ways to Multiply Small Groups is a good summary of today’s discussion.
Small Group Ministry Coaching Network: I’d like to invite you to join me for my 2012 coaching network. Limited to 12 participants (I have 7 spots left), you can find out how it works right here.