The Small Group Network was born out of a concern I had while sitting in a small group seminar led by Lyman Coleman in 1993. The seminar was great—my concern was about what people would do when they got home from the seminar and started leading small groups. When they faced problems, who would they call? Lyman did not give us his home phone number.
One time, up-front training is helpful, especially when it is visionary, but it is never enough. Leaders need ongoing training. As the small groups director at our church, I try to provide leaders plenty of ongoing training, equipping, and support, including:
- regular (monthly, semi-monthly, or quarterly) leaders meetings (VHS format)
- regular newsletter (I use articles from the Small Group Network)
- apprentices in every group
- a coaching system (one coach over every five groups)
- seminars held at our building (open to other churches) twice a year
- membership to the Small Group Network for all leaders
- resource library
Regardless of what type of ongoing training you utilize, you need to start the year with a plan for systematic leadership training. Below are a few ideas from leaders around the world.
Jay Kelly, of Oklahoma City, says he has decentralized his training, moving training sessions away from the church building and big sessions where all leaders gather together at one time. They now meet in homes at designated times just as their regular small groups do. He says this has been popular with leaders because it is much more informal and laid back.
Jay Kelly also wrote on our "SmallTalk" discussion list about the pros and cons of coaching. He said,
My experience with coaches has been much less successful than with basic group leaders. The problem with the ...