Note: this article has been excerpted from the SmallGroups.com training resource Recruiting Reluctant Small-Group Leaders.
Sales and service are two basic values for every successful business. I watched my dad, a small business owner, be pulled between these two directions to make his small business flourish. He hired people to service his existing customers, but he knew the best use of his time was to be on the sales floor.
In reality, sales and service are also two essential basics for small-group ministry. To make a small-group ministry successful, we not only care for our current leaders, but also recruit new leaders. Because many potential leaders need to be recruited, and unless you regularly find new group leaders, your ministry will always struggle to grow—if it grows at all.
So, here are a few basic principles for successfully recruiting new small-group leaders.
Decide What You Are Looking For
Before you can begin to recruit someone for small-group leadership, you need to ask a couple questions:
- What qualifications are required in order to lead? If you just need warm bodies for your small-group ministry, then anyone will do. But most likely your requirements will be a little more stringent. Ask yourself what base qualifications does a leader need to meet? Will you require church membership, training, or new member classes? Some of these qualifications can be fulfilled prior to recruiting a potential leader; others can be fulfilled after a person agrees to lead.
- What are the expectations and responsibilities of a group leader? When you ask someone to lead a small group, it would be a mistake to assume that he or she knows what is expected of them. It's important to do your homework. Write down what type of character you expect the potential leader to display. Write down the core responsibilities of a small-group leader in your church. Good leaders don't accept leadership positions without first finding out what is expected of them. For the best results in defining these expectations and responsibilities, work with other leaders in the church, including staff, elders, or deacons.
Decide Where You Want to Look
After determining what to look for in a small-group leader, the next step is to decide where you will look for the best people to lead. Here are some options:
- From existing small groups. Existing small-group members have experienced the blessing of small-group community. They are probably your ministry's biggest fans, and they don't need to be sold on the value of small groups. Therefore, these can be some of the easiest and best people to recruit as leaders. It's a good idea to seek the advice of current group leaders when it comes to finding current members who may be ready to take the next step.
- From people new to your congregation. Never underestimate the potential of those new to your congregation. In the past, many churches wouldn't let someone lead unless they were given time to work their way up the church leadership ladder. This approach leaves many sitting on the sideline and wasting their God-given abilities. Many times, these new folks come from other churches where they gained valuable experience being a small-group member or leading one. Once you have determined the leader qualifications, expectations, and responsibilities, it's safe to recruit from those new to your congregation.
- From those who have led in the past. Keep a list of past small-group leaders. Bring the list out during seasons of recruiting. If they met expectations the last time, they probably will meet expectations again.