10 Things Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know

By Jocelyn Hu

There are a few things every small group needs to know.  Battle hardened veterans and wet-behind-the-ears alike, every small group leader needs to know these things.

10 things every small group leader needs to know

  1. Their senior pastor appreciates them.  This is a very, very important thing for a small group leader to know.  It ought to be communicated over and over again.  Senior pastors who understand this and act on it are able to build enduring armies of small group leaders.  See also, The Role of the Senior Pastor and 5 Ways Senior Pastors Can Affirm the Value of Small Group Leaders.
  2. Who cares for them.  Carl George expressed the truth of Exodus 18 this way: "Everyone needs to be cared for by someone but nobody can care for more than (about) ten."  Every small group leader needs to know experientially that someone cares for them.  If all they know is that someone "is over them" organizationally, you cannot expect their members to feel cared for either.  See also, Small Group Ministry Roadblock #5: A Leadership Development Disconnect.
  3. They belong.  I believe this is an essential ingredient if you want to build a thriving small group ministry.  Creating a sense of family and an esprit de corps isn't automatic.  It must be created and passed on.  See also, Life-Change at the Member Level.
  4. How to take their next step.  This may not be known at the very beginning but must be an early learning.  In order for every small group leader to know this it must be built in at the earliest opportunity.  See also, From Here to There: The Preferred Future for Small Group Leaders.
  5. How to use the study.  Especially in systems and strategies that make it possible for anyone to invite their friends and lead their own group, knowing how to use the study must be basic instruction.  Although launching studies ought to be nearly just-add-water, this little bit of coaching will help new leaders (and new groups) have a better experience.
  6. What to do when they don't know the answer or what to do.  This ought to be basic training for all leaders.  If you don't know the answer or what to do, simply say, "I'm not sure, but I know who I can ask.  Let me find out and get back to you tomorrow."
  7. How to fill their own group.  Every small group leader should be trained to fill their own group.  Setting up the expectation that someone else will find members for their group (often the small group pastor) is a recipe for trouble and should be avoided at all costs.  See also, Skill Training: Top 10 Ways to Find New Group Members
  8. How to share the load.  Every small group leader (no matter what you call them) should know from the very beginning that recruiting a co-leader is step #1.  They should also know that inviting group members to take turns facilitating, opening their homes for meetings, signing up to bring a snack, and keeping track of the prayer list are normal activities.  See also, Skill Training: Rotating HOST Homes.
  9. How to help their members belong.  Every small group leader needs to know how to help their members develop a sense of family and belonging.  This rarely happens without an intentional effort.  This skill must be part of a leader's normal expectations.  See also, Do Your Small Groups Cultivate This Powerful Ingredient?
  10. How to help their members take their next step.  In order for a small group to truly be the optimal environment for life-change, the leader plays an essential role.  Few small group leaders will intuitively play this part.  Almost all group leaders can be trained to "do to and for their members what is being done to and for them."  Caught, not taught, helping their members take next steps is the essence of the leader role.  See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader and Skill Training: Equip Leaders to Help Members Take Their Next Step.


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