I want to close this out with an example of Just-in-Time Training from my own experience. I was coaching and mentoring a network of small-group leaders in the Seattle area when one of my leaders began asking about doing funerals. I was puzzled, but took the time to listen to her story.
Her small group was made up of families who had medically fragile children in their homes. One of the children had taken a turn for the worse, and it was likely that he would be passing in a few weeks. Several of the families who attended the small group were unable to attend weekly public worship, and this small-group leader had become the de facto pastor. Over the next several weeks I worked with the leader and trained her how to walk with the family during the first days of the child's inevitable passing, as well as how to arrange, coordinate, and conduct a funeral.
The fateful day came and the small-group leader was as prepared as she could be. Apparently she learned well—the next training session she and I had was how to do baptisms, because several adults and children decided to become Christian in the days that followed the funeral service.
Just-in-Time Training helps keep coaching and mentoring fresh for your small-group leaders—and it can be especially gratifying for those of us who coach, as well. There's simply nothing like a well-motivated student to bring out the best in us coaches.
—Bill Tenney-Brittian; copyright 2011 by the author and Christianity Today International