Training for Grow Group Leaders
- Are you trusting in the sacrificial death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness and 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 you will spend eternity with God? John 3:16; Romans 6:23; I Corinthians 15:3-4,57; 1 Peter 2:24.
- Is 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 or host. If this is not your home Church, will you make it so?
- Do you agree with the statement of faith of this ministry?
We align with the Lausanne Covenant.
- Will you lead the group through the three phases of each meeeting?
The three phases are prayer, Bible study and fellowship. Prayer is the first part of the meeting. It's the time to share personal 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's the main part of the gathering. There is more about that below. But the important thing to remember is the group is discussion based. It's conversation driven. Dialogue is welcomed, lecture is taboo. The leader is not looked upon as a Bible expert. Everyone in the group contributes to the final outcome.
The third part of the meeting is fellowship. It consits of mingling with one another around liquid refreshments and light treats. The Host is reponsible for making sure there is something drink and something to nibble on.
- Will you guide the group through the discussion part of each meeting?
The discussion part is the actual Bible study. The keys to guding the group in this part of the meeeting are three fold: keeping the group on track, guiding under/over/unhealthy talkers, and staying aligned with the Bible sudy format. 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 ask if they have anything to say. Often they just need an invitation. But be sure they maintain the option to remain quiet observers. You will need to be ready to say something like, “Before we move on, I noticed we have not heard from everyone. Sarah/Steve, is there anything you would like to say?”
The second type of talker is the over talker. This is the person 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. I'd like to talk with you afterward.” 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.
If the Bible study format is Discovery Study, you'll need to make sure the groups moves through the questions. If the format is Foundation study, you'll need to make sure they progress through the verses. The key is balance. Don't feel like you need to get through all the material but don't let your group get bogged down on one question/verse.
- Will you teach one of the three Bible studies?
The three Bible study tools are Discovery Study 1, and Discovery 2 and Foundation Studies. The Small Group Leader will give instructions about which tool is going to be used. They key here is rehearsing each study a few times on our own so you're comforable.
- Would you be willing to develop an apprentice?
Another key element that contributes to the healthy expansion of Grow groups is the apprentice. The ideal outcome is that each Grow group would produce one new leader for the next session. The best leaders come from leader referrals rather than by asking for volunteers. Turning apprentices into leaders involves the four steps of identification, invitation, trial and referral.
Identification. Apprentices don’t happen by accident. Be aware of somone who looks like a potential leader. Watch for the person who demonstrates the maturity, skills, and desire 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 the later sessions, both you and they will have a good working knowledge of how to lead the group.
Trial. Provide the apprentice with a leadership role. 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 Leaders is the Coach. The Coach’s role is to pray for you, send you helpful reminders each week, and be available to help with any issues. 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. If necessary, 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 meeting. It’s a way for the Church to say thank you. It’s also a fun time to share God stories, provide input, and offer referrals. Your input is critical to the health of the ministry. You don't want to miss this.
- One final note about the two food events.
One food event is refreshments after each meeting. Treats are a great way to facilitate casual but 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 please contact the Leader for small groups ASAP.