Training for Small Group Leaders
- Are you trusting in the sacrificial death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your eternal life? In other words, do you believe Jesus died for your sins, rose from the dead and that based on trusting in Him alone your sins are forgiven and will spend eternity with God?
- Is this your church home? If not, will you make this your Church home? Home Church is defined as the place you faithfully attend, serve, give and when asked, the one place you would vote. Membership is not a requirement to be a leader.
- Will you guide the group through the three phases of general prayer, bible study and fellowship time? General prayer is the first part of the meeting. This is the time to share personal prayer requests and praises. It’s when you pray for one another. Care should be taken this does not last too long. The second part of the meeting is Bible study. It is the main part of the gathering. Read more about that below. The third part of the meeting is fellowship. Most meetings end with a time of refreshments.
- Will you encourage the under talkers, guide the over talkers and direct the unhealthy talkers? A key element of leading Grow groups is guiding the discussion part of the Bible study. Grow groups are conversation driven. They are dialogue based. It is not a lecture. The leader is not looked upon as the expert. Everyone contributes. The key to leading a healthy discussion is threefold. Keep the group on track, watch for under/over/unhealthy talkers and stay aligned to the Bible study format. You will learn how to teach the Bible study below.
Keeping the group on track requires that you be ready to guide them back to the subject if they wander away. You will need to be ready to say something like, “I feel like we’ve wandered off track. Let’s move back to the topic.”
There are three types to talkers to be aware of. The first are under talkers. Those who remain silent. Be ready to call upon them and ask if they have anything to say. Often these folks just need an invitation. But be sure they maintain the option to be quiet observers. You will need to be ready to say something like, “Before we move on, I noticed we have not heard from everyone. Sue/Sam is there anything you would like to say?”
The second type of talker is the over talker. This is someone who dominates the conversation. They often respond well to a gentle reminder. You will need to be ready to say something like, “Bob, it’s good to hear your thoughts on the subject, but I’d like to give others a chance to contribute at this time.”
The third type of talker is the unhealthy talker. This is someone whose comments indicate they have needs beyond the scope of the group. You will need to be ready to say something like, “Those issues are beyond the scope of this group.” It is essential that you speak with an unhealthy talker after the meeting during refreshment time. Take someone with you. Inform them of their need to contact the Church so they can access resources designed to meet their needs. If things are not resolved talk to your coach.
- Will you teach one of the three Bible studies? The three Bible study tools are Discovery Study 1, and Discovery 2 and Foundation Studies.
- Would you be willing to develop an apprentice? Another key element that contributes to the healthy expansion of Grow groups is the apprentice concept. The goal is that each Grow group would produce one new leader for the next session. The best leaders come from leader referrals rather than asking for volunteers. Turning apprentices into leaders involves four steps; identification, invitation, trial and referral.
Identification; Apprentices don’t happen by accident. Be aware of people who look like potential leaders. Watch for people who demonstrate the maturity and skills to lead a group.
Invitation; speak to that person personally. Tell them you think they might have what it takes to lead a group and ask them if they would be willing to give it a try. By doing this later in the session you and they will have a good working knowledge of how to lead the group.
Trial; provide the apprentice with the leadership role for a week. Be sure to give input afterwards. Do this separate from the meeting time.
Referral; you will be asked at Wrap Up if there is anyone you would refer as a leader.
- If necessary, are you willing to rely on your coach for help? Another helpful resource for the leader is the Coach. The Coach’s role is to pray for you, send you helpful email reminders each week, and be available to help with any issues that might come up. The help can be in person, over the phone or even by attending the group. They are there to help and encourage in any way they can.
- Will you do your best to love your group and lead them in weekly discussions of truth? There are two key elements that make grow groups transformational. They are love and truth. Encourage everyone to love one another. A good working definition of love comes from Grant Howard, “Love takes the initiative, acts sacrificially to meet needs.” It’s timeless because it’s lifted from John 3:16. Love takes the initiative (God so loved the world), acts sacrificially (that he gave his only Son), to meet needs (that anyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life). Truth is the Scriptures (John 17:17b). The goal of groups is that love is expressed, and truth is explored.
- Will you attend Wrap Up? One fun resource for leaders is Wrap Up. Wrap Up is a free dinner for you and your spouse. It’s for the group leaders the week after your last Grow group meeting. It’s a way for the Church leadership to say thank you. It’s also a fun time to share God stories, provide input, and offer referrals. You won’t want to miss this.
- One final note about two food events. One food event is refreshments after each meeting. Goodies are a great way to facilitate casual and meaningful fellowship. The second food event is the group meal. Once a session each group is encouraged to eat a meal together. The host is responsible for these two food events. We just wanted you to be aware of them.
If you're willing to serve as a small group leader contact the head of small groups and let him/her know.