The Time is Now: You’ve Got to Identify New Leaders
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The Time is Now: You’ve Got to Identify New Leaders

Part 1 of a 3-part series on Identifying, Inviting, and Investing in New Leaders

Now more than ever, we need more people to step up and accept the challenge to facilitate and lead small groups. With the CDC recommending smaller gatherings throughout the fall, we want to help you actively pursue these yet-to-be-called leaders.

So, what should you be looking for?

First, look for the usual suspects.

In our study that led to our forthcoming book Leading Small Groups That Thrive, groups pastors identified these top five qualifications for small group leaders:

  1. Personal integrity— a consistent and uncompromising adherence to biblical, moral, and ethical values.
  2. Teachability— a willingness to continually learn and refine skill sets.
  3. Personal spiritual maturity— the ongoing pursuit of God and Christlikeness.
  4. Availability— freedom to engage because of time and mental and physical resources.
  5. Transparency— thoughts, feelings, and motives that are easily perceived by others.

As you think about people in your circle, who exhibits these traits?

Second, look for people who have been great group members themselves.

In that same study, the leaders of the most effective groups look for the following kinds of group members when they think about sharing leadership. They went to recruit for greater leadership members who:

  1. Regularly participated in discussions and looked for life applications in discussions.
  2. Willingly and honestly spoke about their struggles.
  3. Fully engaged in the group and leaned into their own growth.
  4. Expressed a willingness to serve.
  5. Demonstrated their commitment to care for other group members.

Who are the great group members in your midst? Perhaps it’s time to tap them on the shoulder and ask them to lead a group of their own.

Third, notice natural gatherers.

You know a natural gatherer when you see one; they’re the people other people flock to or gravitate toward. You can see people respond positively to their invitation to connect.

They know how to gather and connect with other people. So, who around you is a natural gatherer?

Fourth, consider people who aren’t already plugged into a group.

There are some folks who would be great group leaders who are not in a group. In fact, quite a few of the group leaders we surveyed indicated they led a group without having any other previous group experience.

Who do you know who is not currently plugged into a group but exhibits the characteristics noted above?

Lastly, be careful about people who perhaps are too eager to lead.

Ever found yourself in that awkward situation when people who really want to be leaders don’t exhibit the traits above? We encourage you to do the following with these folks:

  1. Have an honest conversation with them. Affirm their desire. The desire to lead is a noble one. Kindly, graciously, and honestly share with them what you see.
  2. Work with them to help them grow in areas of insecurity and weakness.
  3. Give them small roles in which they can demonstrate leadership, and coach them as they do.

Your willingness to engage a loving but candid conversation just might be the nudge they need to take their own growth seriously and devote time and attention to it.

So, look around you and see who God brings to your heart and mind. And then, think about how you might tap their shoulder, and invite them into greater leadership. Our next article will give insights on how to do that well.

Leading Small Groups that Thrive releases on August 11 and is now available for pre-order! Check out for more information on the book and some amazing pre-order bonuses.

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