A lot of churches have now joined in the strategy of using small groups to help disciple and create community within their congregations. 

If you are part of your church leadership that is helping to navigate small groups, or you are thinking of doing small groups for your ministry department, here are some tips for developing small group leaders:

1.  Determine a timeline and rhythm.

Decide what type of timeline you are going to have for small groups at your church.  Do you plan to do semesters?  How many weeks will groups last each semester?  Will they have a break in between semesters?  Do you plan to go 52 weeks?

The reason this is important is because it let's people interested in leading a group figure out if it works for their schedule.  Also, it provides a start date and an end date.  

2.  Be clear on expectations. 

Sometimes, we make the mistake of assuming that people know what we know. Being clear up front removes the confusion in the middle.

Be sure to give potential small group leaders clear guidelines and expectations.  Even if you are just starting the small group "system" in your church, setting the tone early will give them better clarity of what they are allowed to do.

3.  Offer continued support.

Once the groups begin, leaders will need some type of support throughout the semester or schedule.  It is almost certain that they will run into some type of small dilemmas where they may need direction and counsel.

For example, their small group may be lowly attended.  Or, they have a unique situation arise in the life of a member. Maybe, they are just excited about what God is doing in their group and want to share with someone!  

As a leader or director, provide some type of way to connect with leaders, and keep communication open.  Encouragement and support go a long way!

4.  Create healthy accountability.

If you are afraid that groups may go in a wrong direction, it's ok.

We all deal with certain fears when it comes to new things or fresh strategies.  But, if you feel small groups is for your church, then proceed with intentionality.

You would be wise in keeping some type of healthy accountability on group leaders such as weekly reports, metrics, end of semester evaluations, and other strategic devices to keep a pulse on groups.  It is not micromanagement - it is healthy accountability.  

Small groups are a great way to develop leaders and disciples in your church.  They create strong relationships and a community for believers to find refuge and strength from others.

By: Next Gen Staff

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