5 Practical Ways to Try Leadership the Very First Time

Help! I can’t find enough leaders!

I don’t know about you…but that is the most common complaint/concern I hear when I talk with small group champions.  And the most common question I hear is “How can I find more leaders?”  I’ve written a number of articles in answering that question.  You can see them right here.

Today I want to talk about how to develop more leaders.  This is an essential skill for all small group leaders but it’s not intuitive for most and it will rarely happen naturally or on the initiative of your existing leaders.  If you want it to happen system-wide, you must teach the concept and develop the expectations and skills that make it happen.

Basic Concept

The basic concept is that every group has multiple people who can lead (or help lead) a group.  I’m not suggesting that everyone can lead.  I’m simply pointing out that there are many group members who actually could lead a group if they were given the opportunity and motivated somehow to try it.

Do you believe that?  I hope so.  If you believe that, then the next step is to help your existing leaders begin to practice the skills that will allow and encourage everyone who can lead to give it a try.

Leader Development Practices

Here are five practices that will help more adults give leading a try.

  • Make it a fun experiment!  As you begin a new study, let everyone know that “we’re all going to take a turn facilitating this one.”  To do that, you’ll need to select a study that requires little preparation and comes very close to leading itself (which is always a great idea).
  • Begin by handing off sections of every session.  “Bob, why don’t you lead the Connect section next week?”  “Sue, next week I’d like you to lead the prayer time at the end.  Watch how I do it this week and then you do it next week.  Okay?”  Starting members out with bite-sized assignments will ease a toe into the water of leading.  Always a good place to begin.
  • Practice sub-grouping as often as you can.  Start when you have 7 members.  Never stop.   You can begin by random sub-grouping (I’ve tried everything from counting off by threes or drawing numbers from a hat) and move to more intentional (affinities that might ultimately result in a new group).
  • Meet separately from time to time or on a regular basis.  Many groups have developed the practice of meeting together twice a month and separately twice a month (i.e., let the men and women have their own time on occasion).  This helps develop additional leadership capacity…as long as you don’t just recruit the usual suspects.
  • Broaden the invitation list for leader training events and meetings.  Encourage all of your group leaders to bring additional facilitators to your leader training events.  Include a breakout designed for new facilitators in the skill training section on your meeting agenda.

Want to develop more leaders?  Start making leader development a priority.  Better yet…start measuring the number of groups that do what we’ve talked about here.  You’ll begin to see development.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Howell

Mark Howell

I’m the Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m also LifeWay’s Small Group Specialist. I’m the the founder of SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services that help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. In addition, I’m the guy behind MarkHowellLive.com, SmallGroupResources.net, StrategyCentral.org and @MarkCHowell.

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Recent Comments
I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 

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