BIG Discounts for SMALL Group Leaders

World's Greatest Small Group CoverBetween now and August 31, you can take advantage of discount prices when you purchase World’s Greatest Small Group for your small group leaders.

  • 25% off when you buy 1-19 copies.
  • 40% off when you buy 20+ copies.

Go here for more details.

Michael Keaton – Small Groups Pastor, Crossroads Church, Newnan, Georgia – is using World’s Greatest Small Group to train small group leaders.

Michael gives some reasons he is using World’s Greatest Small Group:

“I wanted to give my small group leaders a resource to read. As I considered the Fall ministry plan it seemed like a good fit to get the book at the beginning of our semester when we launch groups.

“Our plan is to give the book to leaders and then bring in Michael C. Mack for a talk a few months later. It will be a great intro.

“At first, the title caught my eye, but then as I read I realized Mack had a similar heartbeat, and I loved that. We are big on making disciples. I especially loved his emphasis on the leader’s spiritual vitality. That was huge to me and I connected to that and it is a similar heartbeat of mine.

“I loved the chapter on shepherding. The book was a great option because of its simplicity, length, topic, readability, fit with our focus, and it deals with practical advice and teaching on leading a small group.”

How to Start Lots of New Groups That Continue and Multiply

The 12-step strategy can be summarized in 4 words:

Focus short-term, plan long-term.

Many people are reluctant to join a long-term group, especially with people they don’t already know. Perhaps this is why so many small group events and campaigns fail. But people will try a short-term group (four to six weeks, maximum) that meets a specific felt need. Once they have made some friends in the group and experience life change (and this does not always take long to occur), they’ll stick with it. Here’s the 12-point strategy:

Plan a short-term (four- to six-week) group experience in which people naturally want to participate. These are often all-church campaigns tied to a sermon series. Find the best time(s) of year (fall or beginning of the new year, for instance) for these campaigns. Some churches do these short-term groups one night of the week in a big room with round tables.

Recruit the leaders for these short-term groups from your existing groups, especially those who are already sharing leadership. Often, the group leader from an existing group steps up to lead a short-term group with the expectation of returning to the original group at the end. The original group is led by one of the core team members. (Short-term group leaders can also be recruited from among staff members, elders, ex-group leaders and other leaders in the church.) The important thing is that you’re asking these leaders for only a 6-10 week upfront commitment (the duration of the short-term group plus a week or two on either end).

Begin every new group with a core team that shares leadership. The mistake many leaders make is launching new groups with one leader, which then limits the reproducibility of the group. The core team members will be selected early on from the new group members. They will share some of the facilitation leadership but, more importantly, the shepherding (investing into) of other members.

Plan for the long-term from the start. What will these short-term groups do after the initial group commitment ends? What will they study next? I provided several options for each type of group. I wanted these studies to lead to spiritual growth and be relatively easy to lead. I’ve found video-based curriculum usually work best.

Be certain in those initial weeks that every person is shepherded. Every person should be invested into. Each core team member should take responsibility for two or three others whom they call, send emails, meet with for coffee, pray with, and so forth.

Get everyone involved. Share ownership with everyone. Ask group members to bring food, read aloud, look up answers, ask the icebreaker question, etc.

A couple of weeks into the initial group experience, have the leaders begin to ask new group members what they think about the group. Would they be interested in continuing? We’ve found that most people say yes. (Those who don’t say yes usually have other plans, but they’d be willing to join another group later on.) If I developed the study these groups use, I write these questions into the lessons.

Communicate often with leaders and those who share leadership about upcoming plans. Would they be willing to continue leading this group for a while? Is there someone in the rest of the group who can become part of the core team? Will the leaders stay in the group for, say, six more weeks? What’s the process for continuing the group long-term, and who will lead it?

Make specific plans to continue meeting. At this point, don’t be afraid to ask for a commitment. Decide on all the particulars: where and when you’ll meet, who will lead, what roles others will take, etc.

Train. As the initial groups come to an end, plan a short group break, during which time (1) the group can either meet for a party or do a serving project together or both and (2) you provide a basic, upfront training event for emerging leaders.

Coach. Ask the original short-term group leader to slowly hand over leadership of the group (if necessary) and then continue to coach the new leader(s) to help the group to be healthy and grow.

Celebrate! A new leader has been developed and a group multiplication has occurred, so recognize it and celebrate. You want to see this same process happen again and again, so hold this up as a model.

 

3 More Must-Read Posts on Launching New Groups During Church Campaigns or Connection Events

Three Priorities for Briefing New Group Leaders, by Allen White

Choosing the Right Day to Launch Groups This Fall, by Allen White

12 Crowd-Sourced Ideas to Get More People Involved in Your Groups

Small Group Coaching & the 10-20-70 Model

As I coach and consult with small group point leaders and churches, I’m finding that coaching leaders is (still) a struggle for many. At the same time, I partner with several organizations that deal with coaching business leaders, and I’m applying what I’m learning in that environment to small group and church ministry.

Over the next several posts, I’ll share a few of the things I’m learning. Today, I want to discuss the 10-20-70 model of leadership development and how it relates to coaching.

I work in collaboration with with a worldwide organization called Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching. It’s founder, Marshall Goldsmith, recently shared a brief (less than a minute and a half) video about this 10-20-70 model and how it relates to business coaching, which you can watch here.

In the 10-20-70 model (often referred to as the 70-20-10 model for learning and development),

  • 10% of real leadership equipping happens in formal, content-centered settings (usually upfront)
  • 20% occurs as a person interacts with others (coaching)
  • 70% comes from job-related experience

My experience leading volunteers in churches, especially in small group ministries, bears this out. And yet, in the past, anyway, many leaders have put more emphasis on up-front content-centered training than the other two areas. Experience, however, points to on-the-job experience being the best trainer. That’s why Jesus carried out his ministry as he did, I suspect, sending out the newly chosen apostles soon after choosing them as such.

Let’s look at the numbers (and bear in mind that these numbers are not precise; I’m sure the percentages vary from one situation to another). What’s the best way for small group point leaders to utilize each of these areas? Here are my suggestions from my experience and research:

10% “Formal” Equipping — I think this must include some amount of vision casting and focus on the mission of the groups. Leaders need to be able to answer the why and what questions. That’s why Jesus told the disciples up-front why he was calling them and what they would become. It’s why Jesus reiterated the vision and mission before his ascension.

I would seek to answer these basic questions in this part of the training:

  • What is a small group at our church?
  • Why do we need them?
  • What is the goal?
  • What is a leader (or host or facilitator, etc.)?
  • Why is this role important?
  • How do we do groups? (These are your small group values.)

The other part of this equipping must be some kind of basic primer on how to lead a group. This can be done via online videos, for instance, but new leaders need to know at least the fundamentals of how a healthy group operates.

20% Coaching — As Goldsmith points out, this is the vital bridge between the other two types of leadership development. The coach:

  1. reminds and helps the new leader apply the upfront equipping
  2. ensures that the leader really is continuing to learn from the on-the-job experience

The coach uses good questions to accomplish #2, asking both general and some specific questions about the people, the meetings, the outcomes, etc. (I’ll talk in future posts about who these coaches are and what their roles are.)

70% OTJ Experience — Of course, this experience can be provided through intentional apprenticeship, sharing leadership as part of a Core Team, or in a Turbo Group (a group in which everyone is considered a leader-in-training and an intentional plan is in place for them to get experience and then step out to launch their own groups). I’ve used all of these.

I’ve spoken with point leaders who are using a different strategy, and I’m waiting to see how it works. Groups are started with a Host, with a very intentional track to become a Facilitator and then a Shepherd-Leader (think of this as a leadership ladder). The on-the-job experience (just-in-time training) is placed up-front and the experience is made safer by providing every resource these hosts need to succeed. They are also provided some sort of coaching (huddles, for instance) and, along the way, some content-centered training.

The important thing to note, I believe, is how vital the coaching element is to make this succeed. In forthcoming posts I’ll discuss some creative coaching ideas and seek to make coaching more simple and yet more effective than you ever thought it could be.

More About Coaching and Equipping

Why a Small Group Director / Minister Brings in an “Expert” Trainer

Kathy Stahlhut
Kathy Stahlhut

GUEST BLOG by Kathy Stahlhut,  Director of Small Groups at Greenwood (Indiana) Christian Church.

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At Greenwood Christian, we are constantly striving to improve our small group leader training. We know that with good coaching, leaders function at their highest capacity. As directors or ministers of small groups, we can only do so much. For a boost, at least once a year, we try to bring in an expert on the development of small groups.

This year, Mike was our guest speaker, and he really challenged our leaders to become more outwardly focused. He emphasized how our personal mission should simply overflow out of our relationship with God. He talked about the importance of spending time with our Savior so our hearts could more reflect His. He taught us how to keep the group intentionally open to new people focusing on Matt 9:13 (The Mssg.), “I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” It’s what needed to be taught, but by someone other than me. I’m so thankful that Mike has stepped into the role of super coach or consultant. We need people like this to speak into our groups the hard things we can’t always say.

In return, our leaders really enjoyed it! Thanks, Mike. Here are a few comments:

“I loved it! It gave the leader practical ways of improving their group: have a plan, purpose, logistics, etc.; he gave ways to challenge us: using the six count, watching for ah-ha moments, etc.; and emphasizing the importance of prayer: writing names of lost friends on index cards and praying for them weekly.”

“It was an excellent training. Mike was a great speaker and discussion facilitator. He was able to help us think deeply about the mission and vision of our LifeGroups, while keeping us biblically focused.” 


GCC_Room“Mike’s training was excellent. He presents in a way that makes application in our LifeGroups easy. I will be incorporating a couple of ideas for group this week.”

“Mike’s experience with and passion for small groups were evident right from the beginning. He led us through very interactive exercises that allowed me to think about how I would integrate the concepts into my own group as we went along. I appreciate Mike’s ability to relate to us as group leaders and illustrate stories and information to help us better relate to our group members.”

GCC_Teaching

“I enjoyed Mike’s emphasis on being a group where members invite people in. This is something the leader must keep in focus for the group so they may follow the Great Commission. I would like to hear him expand on the leader’s job to facilitate vs. teach. He emphasizes facilitating a discussion, not teaching a lesson. However, there will be situations where someone misinterprets Scripture (Misinterpreting 1 Corinthians 10:13 to say “God will not give you more than you can handle”) and the leader should know how to teach and correct (2 Tim. 3:16) so the truth of Scripture can be applied among the group.”

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

5 Ways to SERVE Your Leaders Well
10 Stupid Things That Are Keeping Your Small Group from Growing
What Every Small Group Leader Needs from their Small Group Pastor

Jim Egli on Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group

For years I’ve been following Jim Egli. His books, blogs, and brotherly love have influenced my own views toward groups, discipleship, and ministry in general.

I recently read a post Jim wrote that I believe could have a profound effect on churches, if it gets into the right hands. With Jim’s permission, I’m sharing here his “4 Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group.” I will share only his four main points and then add my own commentary to them. To read his original post—which you should!—click on the link.

  1. Small groups are at the heart of church health. Jim shares the research behind this statement, but I can tell you from experience and common sense that this is true. A healthy church lives in authentic, Christ-centered, missional community, and a church that utilizes healthy groups—the focus being on the word healthy—will increase their health, effectiveness, growth, and multiplication.
  2. Pastors’ involvement in small groups greatly multiplies the leadership base of the church. This is the most important of the four reasons, in my opinion. A strategic pastor will lead a purposeful small group of potential leaders who will become new group leaders, new elders, and new leaders in a variety of other vital leadership functions in the church. The strategic pastor will model the discovery, development, and deployment of new leaders so that those he disciples will then go and do the same.
  3. Jesus led a small group. Let’s face it, Jesus was a strategic leader who led a discipleship group with the intention of developing these men into leaders who would be deployed to launch his church. Jesus was more interested in starting a movement than preaching a weekly sermon. So he gathered some ordinary, unschooled men and patiently shaped them into bold leaders who would change the world. What would happen if every pastor walked in the ways of Jesus as a group leader?
  4. For your spiritual health you need to be in a small group. Where are you growing as a disciple of Jesus in authentic, Christ-centered, missional community? Are you better than everyone else in your church? Do you need to be a part of genuine community less than the rest of your congregation? Where are you living out the “one another” passages of the New Testament? You really do need this kind of community for your own spiritual health. Humbly admit your need and then boldly lead. You won’t regret it.

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Follow +Jim Egli  with me at www.jimegli.com. You’ll find lots of great resources including icebreakers, a free group assessment, and other small group and multi-site resources.

Follow Jim on Twitter at @jimegli.

Follow Jim on Facebook,

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RELATED POSTS

Top 10 Small Group Ministry Launch Failures
What Every Small Group Leader Needs from their Small Group Pastor
10 Stupid Things That Are Keeping Your Small Group from Growing

An Important Message to the Small Group Point Person

GUEST POST by Jay Daniell, Small Group Network, jay@smallgroupnetwork.com;
@jaydaniell

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As the small group point person in your church, there is no need to stand alone.

Around the turn of the century, God moved in me as a volunteer to launch small groups in our local congregation. I remember the fun, excitement, and passion I enjoyed; those were the days . . .

I also remember the pain, heartbreak, and struggles. In rural Nebraska no one knew anything about nor had even heard of “small groups.” I remember the struggles, the confrontations, and accusations of “ruining our church” (code for change). There were seasons when I felt like I had no ally. I knew that I was doing what the Lord had called me to do, but I often felt alone in the struggles.

I began reaching out. I contacted our denominational headquarters for info about which other congregations in the area might be doing small groups. They only knew of one, in St. Louis, more than 500 miles away. Crossing denominational lines, I checked with other local churches to no avail. I was familiar with churches in Chicago, California, and Atlanta who were doing groups in a big way. I could reach out to them, but they were so far away. Was I the only one in my part of the world doing groups?

Alas, after much searching (literally years) I found them: two churches, both in the early stages of launching groups. They were in different cities and both 100 miles away. I struck up a relationship with Burt and Tony, each leading the groups charge in their congregations. Our relationship started by email, moved to phone calls, and eventually evolved to regularly meeting for breakfast. Each of us would get up extra early, drive more than an hour to meet, talk, and pray together in the dining room of a rural truck stop.

These meetings were life-giving for each of us. Together, we discovered that, though our congregations differed greatly, our group-life challenges were very similar. We were able to share “war stories” about what worked and what didn’t work. Together we would discuss our upcoming plans. We would compassionately speak into each other’s’ lives and ministries.

In 2007 I was at a small group conference when the speaker shared his vision for a network of small group point people meeting together for support and encouragement “so that nobody stands alone.” As they say, the rest is history. I found my place in the Small Group Network (SGN).

Today, there are literally thousands of small group point people connected through the Small Group Network website, newsletters, podcasts, and conferences.

And best of all, I get to help connect small group point people around the world with others in their area. We call it a local Huddle. You can connect as well. There are local Huddles meeting throughout the US, Canada, and literally around the world.

It’s simple to connect. Just go to http://www.SmallGroupNetwork.com and REGISTER. Then look at the map and find a Huddle near you and JOIN. If you don’t see a Huddle near you, shoot me an email and I will help you connect.

It worked for me; it can work for you. As a small group point person, there is no need to stand alone.

MORE POSTS FOR THE SMALL GROUP POINT PERSON

Is Your Group System Like a Baby or a Loaf of Bread?
5 Ways to SERVE Your Leaders Well
10 Stupid Things That Are Keeping Your Small Group from Growing
What Every Small Group Leader Needs from their Small Group Pastor

Is Your Group System Like a Baby or a Loaf of Bread?

What Giving up Control Taught Me about Effective Group Ministry

GUEST POST by Allen White: http://allenwhite.org

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I hear a lot of pastors debate the need for a quality experience at the expense of connecting and growing the vast majority of their congregations and their communities into their group system. I also hear the reverse of this, which is, in order to embrace a large quantity of groups, then quality must somehow be sacrificed.

We approach ministry as if we have all the time in the world. Somehow we think our people will live forever, and so will the people our people need to reach for Christ. But let’s be honest, we don’t have the luxury of time.

The apostle Paul didn’t have the luxury of time either. Reviewing his journeys in the book of Acts, Paul never spent more than 6-18 months in any one location, yet in his quest to spread the gospel throughout the known world and to reach Spain, he put leaders in place everywhere he planted a church and then gave them the crash course on ministry. We would call this “quick and dirty” before we would call it “quality.” Paul gave them their marching orders and then basically instructed them, “Do the best you can. The Holy Spirit will guide you. If you run into trouble, then send me a letter.” Then, Paul was off to the next place.

In living with the tension between the quality and quantity of ministry, I want you to consider these words from Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management:

There are two different kinds of compromise. One is expressed in an old proverb, “Half a loaf of bread is better than no bread.” The other, in the story of the judgment of Solomon, is clearly based on the realization that “half a baby is worse than no baby at all.” In the first instance, the boundary conditions are still being satisfied. The purpose of bread is to provide food, and half a loaf is still food. Half a baby, however, does not satisfy the boundary conditions. For half a baby is not half of a living and growing child.

It is a waste of time to worry about what will be acceptable and what a decision maker should or should not say so as not to evoke resistance…. In other words, the decision maker gains nothing by starting out with the question, “What is acceptable?” For in the process of answering it, he or she usually gives away the important things and loses any chance to come up with an effective—let alone the right—answer.

In retelling this story, my friend and mentor, Carl George once asked this question, which changed the course of my thinking about small group ministry: “Are your groups more like a baby or a loaf of bread? Because if it’s like a baby, then half a baby won’t do. You want a perfect baby. But, if it’s more like a loaf of bread and you’re starving, any amount of bread will help to alleviate the hunger.”

In managing the tension between quality and quantity, we must figure out a way to embrace the “Genius of the And,” as coined by Jim Collins in Built to Last. This isn’t an either-or circumstance, in that, if there is no quantity, then quality doesn’t actually matter. The question is whether the limitation on the quantity is a matter of necessity or a personal need for control.

As I wrestled with this tension when I was first introduced to the idea of rapidly expanding group system, I pleaded with God, “But, I need quality control.”

God called me on it. He spoke to me and said, “Allen, when you say ‘quality control,’ quality is your excuse.”

God doesn’t go easy on me. But, I got the point, and moved forward.

What do you think?

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This post is excerpted from the first chapter of Allen’s upcoming book, Exponential Groups: Moving Beyond Your Limits. To download the entire first chapter, click here: Download Allen’s Free ebook: Exponential Groups.

5 Ways to SERVE Your Leaders Well

Yesterday I wrote about what leaders really need from us as leaders of leaders. Today, let’s get more practical.

What do leaders really need? I developed a simple acrostic to help me and other leaders of leaders remember what is really important. It’s the responsibility of every leader of leaders—whether that’s a pastor, other ministry staff person, or volunteer coach—to provide these 5 things consistently.

Support – Leaders need prayer support and they need to know that they are being cared for. Every leader needs to have a shepherd who prays for them daily and is always available – through a phone call, email, or visit – for any kind of support needed. Shepherds never call meetings with their leaders or demand anything from them. They are there to serve the leaders.
Encouragement – Leaders need lots of encouragement to keep going, no matter what. A leader of leaders can schedule luncheons throughout the city several times a year just to encourage leaders in their ministry. But encouragement is a lot more than lunch. I’ve found that, no matter how many leaders we have in our ministry, I must work very hard at developing and sustaining relationships with them. No, it’s not easy with so many leaders. But when you don’t have a heavy structure to maintain and a layer of coaches to work with, you’ll have considerably more time.
Resources – Leaders need for us to provide good resources for them. That means curriculum, of course, but it also means a variety of other resources that will help them do their ministry well. Many churches provide these resources through their website. However you avail them, resources are important.
Validation – Leaders need to know they are valued. Many churches validate only what is programmed by the church. Try to validate anything and everything that is ministry in community. That means getting out of the typical churchy boxes that institutional ministries often find themselves in.
Equipping – Leaders need good training, both upfront – before they begin to lead – and ongoing. Provide both and do everything you possibly can to provide the best, most creative, most dynamic, training you can. Provide food at events. Provide childcare when you can. Make the times convenient. If someone can’t come to “your” training event, take it to them, in their home, to their workplace, in a special session with a few leaders at church – whatever. Do everything you can to remove obstacles to equipping leaders. You’re in your role to serve them.
What do leaders really need? Yes, they need love, relationships, freedom, … but the way to provide these things is by serving them. Maybe that’s the thing there’s really too little of!

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More Posts for Leaders of Leaders

Ralph W. Neighbour: What We Can Learn from this Pioneer in the Groups Movement
Lyman Coleman: Small Groups Are Much More Than an Assimilation Strategy
The Missing Ingredient in American Churches and Groups

What Every Small Group Leader Needs from their Small Group Pastor

I’ve made it a regular, ongoing practice in my ministry to ask the leaders under my care, “What do you need? How can we help you most in your ministry?” If I were to sum up their typical response in one line, it would sound something like an old Carpenter’s song:

“What a leader needs now … is love, sweet love.”
No matter how much I do, how many classes I teach, how many awards I give, what structure I have in place, they need love more than anything else from me. “It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of!”
Small group ministry is by nature a relational ministry. So I believe the support system / structure / leadership community – whatever you want to call it – ought to be intensely relational in nature as well.
I have the privilege of consulting with church leaders and coaching small group champions in churches. I also often lead training seminars in churches all over the U.S. and other countries as well. It’s fascinating for me to be the outsider looking in at how a ministry and leadership development and support are organized.
Back when I was just starting to get involved in small group ministry 25 years ago, many church-growth gurus who had studied the phenomenal growth of churches in America and other countries were writing books and conducting seminars to help churches build organizational systems and strategies to bring about that kind of growth through groups here in the United States. Churches, searching for some way to jumpstart growth and get their hands around the concept of small groups, bought the books and seminars and bought into the principles whole hog.
Here’s what I believe happened over time: small groups became another program in many local churches. We’ve taken a very simple, natural, relational concept, and we’ve institutionalized it. Perhaps we need to deinstitutionalize small groups and, at the same time, esteem and value natural, relational, creative ministry that can happen when we give people the freedom and support to do it.
So let’s get back to my original question: What do leaders really need?
First, they need freedom to do the ministry that God puts on their hearts. One of the jobs of a small group pastor is to create an environment where people sense that they have that kind of freedom. Freedom to be creative. Freedom to experiment. Freedom to fail. For this to happen in the church, you have to release control. Surrender the need to manage everything that happens. Ephesians 4 tells us that Christ is the Head of the Body, not you or me (v. 15). Your responsibility is to “equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (v. 12, NLT).
Second, people need equipping to carry out their ministries successfully (as we see in Ephesians 4). God provides them with the passion and the calling to do his work. He has called leaders of leaders to train them to carry it out.
Third, they need relationships in which to serve. They need a community that encourages them, validates them, keeps them accountable, keeps them going when things are tough. I played with the coaching structure at our church until I developed one that worked to provide those things for our leaders. The typical 5×5 structure wasn’t working, so I found some things that did. It was as simple as as thinking about different levels and types of leaders and then asking what type of support they needed from us. Rather than trying to fit your leaders into your coaching and support system, fit your system to your leaders. 
What do leaders really need? I developed a simple acrostic to help us remember what is really important: SERVE . . . which I’ll share in my next post.

 

10 Can’t-Miss Principles for Finding the WRONG Leaders

Through my assessment of small groups as well as my experience leading groups and coaching other leaders, I’ve observed a direct correlation between leaders who hog leadership and groups that do not grow or multiply.
Leaders who lead healthy, growing groups share leadership with two to three others … but not just any two or three others. I’ve seen leaders pick the right people and the wrong people to share leadership with. Let’s look at how they end up choosing the wrong ones (and, by the way, these also work well for church leaders looking for small group leaders):
  1. Start by developing a recruiting strategy. Make a list of who you think are the right people. Use the normal list of qualifications: knowledge, abilities, charisma, and especially physical appearance. Then consider how you will twist arms to get the ones you want to take on this job.

    A Better Idea … Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send these “workers.” Yes, start with prayer. Trust him to help you know whom to ask.

  2. Announce you are looking for some co-leaders. Ask the group who wants to join you in leading the group. Or send around a sign-up sheet.
  3. Let the group decide. Better yet, ask everyone to make a case for why he or she should be a core team member (after all, this is an exclusive club!) and then have everyone in the group close their eyes and on the count of three, point to the people they think should be on the core team. The ones with the most votes win!

    A Better Idea … Wait and watch whom God leads you to. I wouldn’t even tell group members you are looking for “co-leaders.” Once you have begun praying, watch for whom God puts in front of you. Listen to his voice as you talk to people. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as you interact with group members.

  4. Take anyone who is willing to help. People are busy; no one will want to sign up for this duty. So take anyone who might say yes. Don’t worry about their spiritual lives.
  5. Wait until you get potential co-leaders who meet all your expectations. This is an important job. These people may someday be leaders of new groups, so be cultivate extremely high standards. If no one meets your leadership expectations, don’t do anything. Just keep leading alone.

    A Better Idea … Watch for potential, not perfection. Look for servants, not saints. Look for humble hearts, not superior skills or incredible intelligence.

  6. Recruit people like you. Things will go much more smoothly if your core team members will lead with exactly the same style as you. After all, you are the leadership model. They should have the same gifts as you and will make decisions the same way as you.

    A Better Idea … Do just the opposite. God will likely lead you to people who do not lead like you. Because of that, you may not even see them as “leaders.” Set aside your expectations and trust God to do what only he can do. He is looking for Christlike, not you-like leaders.

  7. Look for people who have the most obvious leadership skills, people who have the spiritual gift of leadership, and people who are successful in business.

    A Better Idea … Consider the condition of their hearts. God will lead you to men or women after his own heart. By the way, leadership is not the only spiritual gift God can use to help lead a group. In fact, those with the gifts of mercy or shepherding or evangelism or other gifts might be the better matches with the gifts you have. Remember, it’s God’s job to put the body together, just as he wants it to be.

  8. Look outside your group. It’s unlikely that a suitable core team member is in your small circle. So look around your church for people with superior leadership abilities. Maybe an elder or deacon. Perhaps a businessman who isn’t connected yet.

    A Better Idea … Look around you. Perhaps God has already put your core team members close to you. They may be the women or men in the group with whom you already have close relationships or those whose gifts complement yours.

  9. Just do it all. It’s probably easier for you to keep leading alone. What real difference can it make?

    A Better Idea … Begin now to share ownership of the group with everyone. Let everyone be involved in the group process. This will help you lead into sharing leadership. (Read my post on the difference between sharing ownership and sharing leadership.) People hesitate to be on a team when the leader does too much. As the group’s leader you must grow in your ability to allow others to use their gifts.

    Leading alone leads to frustration and burnout for the leader and does not effectively help people in your group grow.

  10. Focus exclusively on caring for your group members. You are the group’s shepherd. It’s all about the people in your group right now. Don’t be concerned about anything outside of or beyond that.

    A Better Idea … and this is VITAL … Remember that sharing leadership is part of the discipleship process. It was part of how Jesus discipled and developed Peter, James, and John in his group. Sharing leadership is also a vital ingredient in multiplying leadership, reproducing groups, and expanding the kingdom of God. It’s a necessary part of our great commission to go and make disciples of all nations.

Leaders who hog leadership keep God’s kingdom from growing. Don’t do that!

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Read More about Sharing Leadership with a Core Team

Leadership Is Not a Solo Act
The “Right Person” to Lead a Small Group
Two Rocket Boosters That Will Propel Your Small Group to Accomplish Christ’s Mission
How to Help Group Members Keep Growing and Growing

See more about how to develop a core team and share leadership in my book, The Pocket Guide to Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership.

You can also purchase it in Portuguese here! (I spoke on this topic at two conferences in Brazil in March 2014.)