Small Group Leader Expectations: What Should They Be?

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There are some pretty challenging dilemmas in small group ministry.  And it doesn’t really matter what system or strategy you’ve chosen.  Since there are no problem-free solutions…challenging dilemmas just come with the territory.  Here’s the one I’m wrestling with:

Can you have high leader expectations when you’ve lowered the bar so that more potential leaders will get in the game?  How high can your expectations be?  What are reasonable expectations for leaders?

You get this, right?  When you use the HOST strategy, you’re perilously close to characterizing the role as just “open up your home, serve some refreshments and tell a few friends.”

Did you see that little four letter word?  “Just.”  Ever said that?  I probably have.  You probably have, too.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I’m actually okay with saying it.  But when you use the word “just” you’re opening up the bait and switch discussion.  And I get that and so should you.

The Reason for Leader Expectations

There are reasons for having leader expectations.  The most important reasons for me?

  1. I really do believe that a small group can provide the optimal environment for life-change.  Note the word “can.”
  2. At the same time, I believe the quality of the group experience has less to do with curriculum than it does with the group leader.
  3. In fact, I believe that whatever I want to happen in the lives of group members has to happen first in the lives of the leaders.

What Might Some Expectations Be?

While every church will have its own set of expectations, you can see that there might be some basics.  For example:

  • You might require new leaders to complete a simple spiritual questionnaire that allows them to tell their story.
  • An increasing number of churches require a background check.
  • Agreeing to a set of shared values.
  • Some churches require that their small group leaders be church members (or at least be in the process of becoming a member).
  • Maintaining good communication with their small group coach or the small group pastor is something that is a little bit more qualitative but is an essential requirement.
  • Attending leader development opportunities or participating in a leader development pathway.

In 2013 I wrote two articles that provide further ideas on this topic.  8 Commitments for Small Group Leaders and 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader.

Want do you think?  Have you established leader expectations in your ministry?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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