With 2014 coming to a close, we're taking a look back at your favorite Training Tools of the year. These resources are some of my personal favorites as well. They'll help you train and develop leaders, communicate effectively about your groups, and assess the health of your leadership. Small-group pastors, coaches, and leaders will all find something helpful in this list.
1. Creative Leader Training
Think outside the box and your leaders will want to attend training events.
Regardless of the small-group leader training offered to new leaders at your church, there are issues and needs that come up that require additional training. And many churches like the idea of training events where all the small-group leaders are present. But too often these events are poorly attended and elicit negative feedback from leaders.
In this resource, you'll learn the secrets to holding training events that small-group leaders want to come to. Learn from the experiences of people who have been training leaders for years. Plus, we offer several field-tested activities you can incorporate into your next training event.
2. Market Your Small-Group Ministry
Communicate about small groups in a clear, compelling way that draws people into groups.
Whether you're just starting your ministry, relaunching it, or simply continuing a healthy ministry, small-group point people need an intentional strategy for marketing the small-group ministry. Experts like Steve Gladen, Mike Mack, Carter Moss, Will Johnston, and Ben Reed have contributed to this incredible resource, sharing the wisdom they've gained from leading small-group ministries. Learn how to develop a marketing plan, communicate effectively, keep small groups in front of your congregation regularly, and pull off a successful campaign.
3. Small-Group Director Orientation Guide
Resources for the person leading the small-group ministry
Whether you're called the small-group director, pastor, champion, or coordinator, you're the one leading the small-group ministry. And if that's you, you know what an amazing and challenging adventure it can be. From organizing the structure of the ministry to meeting with coaches to talking about small groups from the pulpit, the small-group director makes sure that small groups have what they need to be successful. It's no small task, and yet many small-group directors find they're given a small-group ministry with little to no instruction.
That's why we've created the Small-Group Director Orientation Guide. This guide will help lay a solid foundation for small-group point people. With a refresher course on the purpose of small groups, directions on how to choose the right structure for your ministry, and realistic ideas for training leaders, this resource will help small-group directors start, restart, or reexamine their small-group ministries. Plus, if you've inherited your ministry, there's a great article on how to take charge without losing leaders who were loyal to the previous director.
4. Small-Group Leader Orientation Guide
A helpful overview of the basics of small-group leadership
This guide is designed to help you equip your church to provide orientation and basic training to new small-group leaders, and to help seasoned small-group leaders refresh themselves on their responsibilities. You may use it either for a group training session or to give individually to small-group leaders.
5. Theological Discussions for Everyone
Get everyone involved in meaningful, fruitful discussions.
Discussing the Bible as a group can feel daunting. Especially when we have some group members who know a lot and others who are just beginning their walk with God. But the Bible is meant to be accessible for everyone, and your group discussions can open the door for great growth to take place. Rest assured, you can lead discussions that get everyone involved. This Training Tool will show you how to prepare for meaningful discussions and how to troubleshoot issues. Learn what it takes for group members to experience life change, and then plan your discussions accordingly.
6. Shepherd New Believers
Learn what you can do to steer new believers in your group toward growth.
Having new believers in your group is exciting! They can bring new life to your group and inspire everyone to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ. At the same time, you might feel overwhelmed knowing that you must shepherd these new believers toward maturity in Christ. Rest assured that God is the one who causes growth, but you can play a part in the process. In this Training Tool, you'll learn how to make your group a welcoming and safe place for new believers. Plus, you'll discover what you can do to help new believers grow.
7. Leading 101
The basics of leading a small group
There's a reason college students are required to take 101 classes—they set a foundation for more in-depth classes they'll take later. These classes give the basics and serve as a survival guide for the subject. When small-group leaders begin their first groups, they need a 101 class, too. That isn't to say they won't ever need more in-depth training, but they need a base—something to help them get off to a great start and navigate the responsibilities of their role.
That's exactly what this resource is designed to do. This incredible resource gathers some of our best articles for small-group leaders. Learn how to prepare for group meetings, lead discussions, handle challenging group dynamics, welcome new members, and apprentice new leaders. Use this resource to train yourself, or use it with the small-group leaders you coach. Either way, it's a valuable resource.
8. Empower Small-Group Leaders
Release your leaders to lead without micromanaging or giving total freedom.
If we want effective, healthy, growing ministries, we have to depend on our small-group leaders to carry out important leadership tasks. We simply can't do it all, so we have to empower our leaders to actively lead and shepherd their group members. This requires us to strike the right balance with leaders where they fully know what's expected of them, have all the tools they need, and have some autonomy in carrying out those tasks. In other words, we must steer clear from the extremes of micromanaging and giving leaders total freedom. It's a tricky line to walk, but this Training Tool will show you how.
9. Small-Group Coach Orientation Guide
Helpful articles and forms that equip coaches to perform their role well
There's no doubt that small-group leaders play an important role in the discipleship process of most churches. They are the men and women "in the trenches" of a small-group ministry that make it work with the Holy Spirit to produce mature disciples of Jesus.
But what about the people who equip, encourage, and empower those group leaders? Depending on the church, they are called coaches, shepherds, champions, and many other things. But they are a vital part of any successful ministry.
10. Healthy Leadership
Your ministry is far too important to handle as an unhealthy leader.
Small-group ministry is far too important to be led by unhealthy, burned out leaders. Whether you're a volunteer leader or a paid staff member, you need to ensure that you're a healthy leader. This resource is for any and all leaders in small-group ministry—from the pastor to the coach to the small-group leader. You'll learn how to find your joy in God rather than in your work for him. Plus, you'll gain a better understanding of what it looks like to be a holistically healthy leader. Use this resource on your own or with a group of leaders to assess your health together.