I'm asked all the time what I think about the idea of apprenticing. And honestly, I don't think about it very much anymore. Why? Because the truth is, there are easier ways to help capable people prepare for and put their toe in the water of leading a small group.
One of the very best ways to help people take a step toward small group leadership is to encourage your existing groups to take a six-week small group vacation. That is, instead of meeting as a group during the upcoming campaign or fall season, consider taking a break as a group and helping to start several new groups.
Before I tell you how to do this, let me tell you why. There are several reasons this method makes a lot of sense.
First, you're only asking them to take a six week vacation from their group. Unlike the idea of apprenticing, taking a vacation isn't permanent. It's a break.
Second, you're giving them permission to do what some of the group already would like to do but are afraid to bring up. Seriously.
Third, you're giving everyone who takes this step an opportunity to experience what it feels like to be used by God to make an eternal difference in the lives of people. To make a contribution, instead of simply consuming.
Here are the details:
1. Enlist your pastor to help make this "ask." This is a request that your pastor can make and get a response.
2. The ask can be made several ways. A simple video can be prepared to play in every group (most effective) or you can host a meeting for all of your leaders. As a final option, you can send a letter or email, but this is much less effective. Note: The reason it is most effective to play the video in every group is that some members will be more responsive than their leader.
3. When you make the ask you'll need a packet that includes an FAQ (frequently asked questions) and a few commitment forms. In addition, you'll need to include a simple explanation of the steps ahead (i.e., watch the video, pray as a group, turn in the forms by August ____, attend the host orientation, etc.)
4. Basically, what you're asking each group to consider doing is to not meet as a group during the campaign (i.e., Transformed, Finding Your Way Back to God, etc.). Instead of meeting together you're asking them to individually host a group (or pair up with another person or couple) and invite a few of their unconnected friends and acquaintances to join them group for the 6 week study.
5. Encouraging existing small groups to take a small group vacation is a fantastic strategy to be used within a church-wide campaign. Not every group will try it. The groups who try it will help you launch more groups.
Need more help with your church-wide campaign? My 4 session mini-course will take you from concept to maximized implementation. For more information, check out MAXIMIZE Your Church-Wide Campaign.
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