Fall is the perfect time to launch new small groups in your church. The most successful group campaigns will take place when people are settling back into their normal routines after the chaos of summer schedules. They are now ready to reconnect with the church and their community. This means that you will need to recruit new leaders now to be prepared for the growth coming in September.
As you start the process of interviewing and training those potential small group leaders, here are five things they will need to know to be successful.
1. They are not alone.
It’s scary stepping out as a leader. Will anyone show up? Am I qualified to lead? What if someone asks a tough question? Cheese tray or fruit plate? The first thing they need to know is that the church leadership will walk alongside them all the way. A solid coaching system can help a new leader feel more secure and better cared for.
2. All they have to be is one step ahead.
One of the biggest worries for potential leaders is not being worthy of leading other people. How can they spiritually lead others when they’re still trying to figure out how to lead themselves? The truth is, in most cases they don’t have to be fully mature believers. They just need to be striving to become more like Christ and be willing to take a few people along for the journey.
3. They don’t have to be everyone’s BFF.
Most leaders will not be able to connect on a deep level to every person in their group. Nor should they try to. Their role is to help facilitate opportunities for people in the group to connect with other group members. And that usually happens best outside of the group meetings. If leaders feel like they have to give every group member the same level of care, they will eventually feel like a failure.
4. They don’t have to have all of the answers.
It’s okay to not know the common translation of the name “Zephaniah” (“Yahweh has hidden”… in case it comes up). They can let the group know that they will come back next week with an answer. People will respect a leader who is transparent more than one who seems to have all of the answers.
5. They should pray weekly for group members.
A leader that prays is a leader that can be followed. Don’t underestimate the power of praying for each group member by name. To better model this, your next question to the new leader should be, “How can I pray for you this week?”
Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with over 22 years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Team at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, and was on staff at Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC, for 15 years. He also manages SmallGroup.com for LifeWay Christian Resources. Chris’s first book, Small Groups For The Rest Of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes, was just released by Thomas Nelson. You can follow his blog at chrissurratt.com or follow him on Twitter @chrissurratt.