- How does my group accomplish the overall vision of the church?
- When, where, and for how long will my group meet?
- Who will be in my group (e.g., singles, teenagers, women)?
- How will I gain members?
- What will my group study, discuss, or do together?
- What is expected of me as a leader?
- What are some basic skills for facilitating meaningful discussions?
- Who am I to contact if problems arise?
This training equips leaders to handle anything that arises that wasn't covered in the start-up training. Leaders must have a coach or small-group pastor who can guide them when they face obstacles in their leadership, especially those specific to their group. One-on-one training is great because coaches can address issues that are specific to a single leader rather than address every single possible issue with all leaders. It would be a waste of time to cover training that is irrelevant to the overall team at a training event. Providing one-on-one coaching also allows leaders to ask as many questions as they need so they are fully equipped. Additionally, this allows leaders to address more personal issues without all other leaders knowing the details of the issue.
As you provide the previous two types of training, you will learn the kinds of obstacles multiple leaders are facing. When you see patterns in the needs of your leaders, consider doing a training event for all of your leaders on the issue. Whether it's a special event, or it's training that's part of your regular leader meetings, addressing common issues that weren't covered in start-up training is helpful to everyone. For instance, if several leaders are dealing with how to choose a study, your next leader meeting could focus on how to find a good study for your group. You could even have leaders share with one another about how they've chosen studies in the past. Regardless of experience, all small-group leaders can gain new insight about common issues. We will never become leaders who know it all. Rather, we can all gain new wisdom, especially from one another.
Small-group leadership training must be viewed as a marathon rather than a sprint. Instead of limiting training to a single series or event, harness multiple opportunities to train leaders in both specific aspects of their leadership and general best practices. By incorporating these three types of training, you'll provide ample support for your leaders. Your leaders will be equipped to effectively handle their leadership issues.
—Seth Widner served as the small-group pastor of The Journey church and is the founder of i58revolution, an organization that supports healthy families; copyright 2014 by Christianity Today.