Gearing Up for Small Groups

Practical tips for recruiting leaders and launching groups

In this interview, Brett Eastman provides solutions to many problems usually associated with small groups and small-group leaders. Brett is the founder and president of LifeTogether.

It seems that there are never enough qualified and willing leaders for small groups. Where do you find them?

Most churches in America look at the ball field and try to identify nine star players. Take your eyes off the field and look at the stands. You will find more people there than in your wildest dreams.

So we don't have enough leaders because we're not willing to let ordinary Christians lead?

Right. Gather people in circles of two or three, share Christ, and start pulling them along. Suddenly, you're building a group from the bottom up. When most churches want to start or fix a small-group ministry, they build a little leadership team. I say, find people who want to be in a group based on something they share in common, and look for a leader.

Start with the people.

But who leads the group?

The group selects its own leader. In Acts 6, the people had a need. The apostles said, "Go ahead and select leaders from among yourselves."

I have underestimated the number of underused members in the body. The most natural process for identifying and confirming people in leadership is to let members of a group do the selecting. The chosen leaders feel a sense of blessing, honor, gratitude, disbelief, excitement, and fear—what I call the "sweaty-palm feeling." And the right posture for sweaty palms is hands in the air: "Lord, I need help."

I met with 45 such leaders three weeks ago, and they are the most teachable, responsive, scared, excited, reluctant leaders you've ever seen. I don't ever say, "If ...

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