In yesterday's post I updated an older article about how we're training new small group leaders these days. The article generated several good comments and questions. Here's a little more thinking on how to provide the best training for small group leaders.
First, I want to make it as easy as possible for people to step into leadership and nearly automatic that they step onto a leader development conveyor belt.
If you miss this, you've probably missed the point of a lot of what I train small group pastors to do.
I believe many churches have built an imposing barrier to entry that is actually counter-productive. Believing that by making it harder to qualify as a leader they ensure the safety of the flock, they simply ensure a leadership shortage. See also, Small Group Ministry Myth #4: High Leader Entry Requirements Ensure Safety in the Flock.
Second, making it as easy as possible for people to step into leadership should be accompanied by a limited set of constraints that mitigate risk.
For example, when we make a group starter kit available for those who would like to "do the study with a couple friends" we don't provide members and we don't legitimize the group by adding it to our online finder. In order for a group to begin this way, the new host must fill the group with their own friends. See also, Saddleback Changed the Church-Wide Campaign Game...Again.
Third, making it nearly automatic that new "leaders" step onto a leadership development conveyor belt comes with a set of understandings and expectations.
For example, depending on where they step onto the conveyor belt, they'll either be added to a set of coaching emails or connected to a coach.
- Adults learn on a need to know basis. When new leaders are chosen at a small group connection, they have an immediate need to know and are quite receptive to coaching. When people respond to the invitation to pick up a host kit and "do the study with a couple friends," they have a natural interest in the set of coaching emails.
- Coaching is primarily about doing TO and FOR (and WITH) leaders whatever you want them to do TO and FOR (and WITH) their members. Developing and discipling leaders has little to do with completing a study or curriculum and a lot to do with life-on-life interaction between mentor and mentee. See also, 7 Things You Must Do TO and FOR Your Small Group Leaders.
- Those who pick up a "host kit" are added to a set of coaching emails that provide tips, ideas and guidance as they begin meeting. Upon completion of the launching study, they will be connected to a coach.
- Those who are chosen as leaders in one of our small group connections are immediately connected with a coach.
- The combination of one-to-one interaction with their coach, huddle opportunities with other leaders, and twice yearly on-campus leader gatherings helps move leaders in the direction we want them to go (from host to shepherd leader).
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
- FAQ: What Can I Require of My Leaders?
- Saddleback Changed the Church-Wide Campaign Game...Again
- How to Help a HOST Become a Small Group Leader
- Small Group Ministry Roadblock #5: A Leadership Development Disconnect
Image by Chris Blakeley