by Eddie Mosley
You may have completed your annual planning schedule for this year. You and your team have thought through the training, connecting, and celebrating needs for the year. Your hopes of success in each of these have you excitedly nervous. I have been where you are and know the planning and team preparation that it takes to bring each of these to fruition. But I want to challenge you on a development area that we often overlook in our training events: the needs of the individual.
After years of being involved in baseball, clearly a team sport but heavily dependent on the individual, I discovered the need for individual training. The team will practice several days a week working on plays, defensive positions, and hitting. The hours fly by and practice comes to an end, but the first baseman has not improved on scooping the bouncing throws from the shortstop. A couple of the pitchers fail to hit the strike zone. And of course, three of the hitters did not hit a single ball to the outfield. Some teams will end practice feeling that they have completed a “good practice.” However, the successful teams realize the value and necessity of individual workouts and lessons after the practice. Some players pay a lot of money to have experts train them individually on the areas of the game they need improvement.
Compare a baseball team’s experience to your small group ministry. We brag on how many or what percentage of our leaders attending the annual (or even better, quarterly) small group leader training event. We walk proudly through the halls of the church having completed another “good” training event. But wait a minute, what about the leader who still feels inadequate to field the Bible study questions? Or the leader, who continually hits the same conclusion, but fails to develop a co-leader. Or the leader who gets through the material, but fails to hit the strike zone of application for the individuals in his or her group? What if we learned from baseball and adjusted our training to include the development of individual small group leaders?
Our small group team did just that. Just like the successful baseball teams, we do not leave the “success” of our small group ministry to a few mega-training events per year. We plan the institutional training events, and then add individual coaching and development for the leader’s needs. Here are a few coaching questions that have influenced our leader development:
- Tell me about your devotional/quiet time life.
- Where do you seem to connect with God more deeply: Worship, Solitude, Prayer, Bible study?
- What do you find most fulfilling or rewarding as a small group leader?
- How can I pray for you?
A few of the ways we implement the individual training is through breakfast or lunch meetings and/or individual meetings with the leaders. Just like the players who seek out individual instruction to hone their skills, leaders need to know they have the same opportunity in your ministry.
Eddie Mosley has served as Small Groups Pastor at LifePoint Church, a multi-site campus in Smyrna, TN, since 2005. His enthusiasm for seeing life change happen in the lives of individuals in his church, neighborhood and community is infectious. Eddie is author of Connecting in Communities, Understanding the Dynamics of Small Groups and various other articles on practical approaches to reaching people for Bible study. Eddie earned a M.Div at Southern Seminary and a D.Min at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a sought after speaker for small group ministry as well as neighborhood impact. His passion is to help pastors and leaders develop strategy to implement Small Groups in the local church which build community and impacts their communities.