I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win. This week, you can win an annual membership to smallgroup.com. Our Groups team helped write this post.
On the surface, the recipe for successful small groups in the church seems pretty easy. You take a group of people with common interests or a similar life stage, put them in a living room or room at the church, mix in a Bible study, and presto: disciples are made. But the reality is so much of the group experience rests on the leader of the group. Leaders reproduce who they are. An unhealthy group leader will lead an unhealthy group. And if a small group leader is poorly equipped and given little spiritual direction, the group will fail. Here are three things that every group leader needs from the beginning to succeed.
Just like we expect the staff of a church to be well-trained for their jobs, small group leaders need to be equipped for their role. There are basic leadership skills they need to understand from the beginning, but most of their development needs will surface as they begin to face issues within the group. This is where as-needed, ongoing training is so valuable. Your new small group leaders need somewhere to turn to when the inevitable questions start coming up during the semester.
Discipling a group of people is not a trivial assignment. When we ask people in our church to take on the leadership of a biblical small group, we are asking them to shepherd a segment of our congregation. These new leaders need to know that the church leadership will walk alongside them as they take this significant spiritual step. Too often we focus on launching small groups but leave leaders to fend for themselves after the launch. A soul-care system of coaches is essential for the future health of your small group leaders. A coach is simply a seasoned leader who is available for new leaders to lean on.
Small groups with little to no direction will move in circles and make little to no spiritual progress. Most volunteer group leaders are not trained, nor do they have the time to design a spiritual map for their group members. That is why it is critical for church leadership to provide a curriculum map for groups to follow. A study map outlines what groups should study over a period of time. With smallgroup.com, a church or group leader can create a short- or long-term pathway of discipleship for as many different groups as necessary, personalizing the study map for each group. With the new group management feature that will be released this winter, a church leader can make study suggestions for groups and follow along as they complete them.
Smallgroup.com is a customizable Bible study tool that can help you create content for campaigns and resource your leaders well. We are giving away two annual memberships to smallgroup.com.
Register here or in the form below by 11:59pm tonight, October 11, to win one of two free annual memberships to smallgroup.com. Winners will be contacted within a week.