How do you get a time commitment out of leaders? Our church is made up of a lot of middle-management people who work sixty hours a week. Prioritizing their lives is one thing, but 12 to 15 hours a week is pretty significant.
This question was asked on an Internet mailing list in response to a message from another netizen, who said he requires small group leaders to give 12 to 15 hours a week, including training, to their groups. Other members of the mailing list chipped in with their ideas, which follow.
- It basically comes down to this. What's more important to your leaders: their kingdom purpose of being a really good shepherd or their job?
The Lord has clearly shown me that he wants a tithe of my time as well as of my finances. One tenth of my day is 2.4 hours. This allows tons of time for me to be a great small group leader.
The balance is used in small group meetings, leadership meetings, and prayer visits.
Undoubtedly, this will change. But I have found that tithing my time has been as fruitful as tithing my talents and finances! I have decided to use my tithed time this way:
- One hour in prayer
- A half hour in God's Word
- A half hour seeing group members
- Formal training sessions often do not work well for these kind of people. They are far too over-scheduled in the first place. Lunches work well though. Relational training may be able to be fit into their already busy schedules.
It may be that you cannot do it yourself. In that case, perhaps you have leaders who understand the principles of small group life sufficiently to pass it on. They can become some of your extended relational trainers.
- The difficulty with formal training is twofold: (1) Leaders may have to sit through a lot of information they don't need to get the information they do need. In an age of information overload, that's a stretch for many people. (2) Leaders may not yet see the need for training.
Two things are vital for us in training. First is the relationship between a coach and a leader. The coach visits a group at least once every six weeks. Then, as soon as possible, the coach and leader get together to reflect on the meeting with affirmation, helpful suggestions, and skill building. Also, in our leaders meetings we make leaders' concerns the highest priority. Leaders are most receptive when the meeting time centers around a problem they are having.