A great conversation yesterday drew an important question. We’re getting ready for a church-wide campaign and know we’ll need coaches for our newest hosts. Where can I find new coaches?
Ever asked that one? It’s a good question. Important on a couple levels. First, it is important that your newest hosts have a coach who is available to help and who is checking in with them on a weekly basis. The first 10 to 13 weeks of their new existence is a critical time period, not unlike the first few days and weeks of a newborn’s life. That said, it follows that if you recruit a wave of new hosts to open their homes for a church-wide campaign, you could suddenly need an additional coach (or 10!). So…where will they come from?
Here are a couple thoughts:
- Although it’s not essential, I look first among existing small group leaders for coaches. You probably do to. The reason I look there is that they’ve made it as a group leader and understand some things about what works.
- Depending on what I find among existing group leaders, I’m not opposed to recruiting from outside but they have to really fit the bill from a teachability standpoint and from a SHAPE standpoint.
- I’m not looking for warm and willing. I’m looking for hot and qualified. That is, the ideal candidate has a passion for group life, is a high-capacity leader, is loyal to our church and our pastor, is very relational and fun to be around.
The second reason this is an important question is that coaches need to be recruited to the function before they’re recruited to the form. You’ve heard of “form before function?” I’ve found it makes a big difference when I simply ask a seasoned small group leader to take a new host or two under her wing, just for 10 to 13 weeks (six weeks of the campaign, couple weeks before, couple weeks after). I’ll frequently say:
I’ve seen you in action over the last year. You’re doing a great job with your group. Would you be willing to help get a couple of our new hosts get off to a good start? Sit with them at the orientation. Connect with them weekly. Make sure they have what they need to really succeed?
This is function before form. Before I sit down with them and invite them to join our coaching team, I want to see them in action. By agreeing to help get a couple new groups started they’re able to put their toe in the water without a long-term commitment. I’m able to see if they’ll do the job and whether they’re really a fit for it…before I offer them an ongoing role on the team. This is big because it’s a lot easier to ask someone to become a coach than it is to ask them to stop coaching!
Once you’ve had a chance to see them in action you can decide if they are a good fit and whether you’d like to add them to the coaching team. I’ve found it is really beneficial to ask them how it felt to help a couple new hosts get started. You need them to be fruitful and fulfilled. One without the other is not good. Fruitful without fulfillment doesn’t lead to long term service. Fulfillment without fruit doesn’t help anyone. You want both and it’s worth holding out for.