If I want to know how to train small group leaders, then I must instinctively know what kind of small group I am looking to have. Borrowing from parenting wisdom, one must know their intended goal for that particular group in order to know how to train leaders for them. If your intended goal or purpose for the group is unsettled for you, then may I suggest you do additional research. If you are a Senior Pastor looking to start a small group ministry at your church, a small groups pastor looking to improve upon the existing ministry, an associate pastor overseeing small groups, a church planter just beginning the blueprint or DNA for the church, or a Youth Pastor or Children’s Director looking to add this ministry to your list of current ministries, then this is for you.
How to train small group leaders can be as varied and complicated as choosing the right American wedding menu (Never again)! Conversely, it can be oversimplified into a one-size fits all pattern (even the Air Force doesn’t do that). Before we get into determining small group purpose, let’s look at YOU, the small group overseer / champion / area coordinator / pastor.
So, how do we train small group leaders? Part 1 of how to train small group leaders begins with you. If you are the leader responsible for making this happen in your church or community, then you will need to clothe yourself with two things: “COL2:6n7.” and “T.A.P.”
Clothe Myself with COL2:6n7?
Yes, I know… it looks like a Star Wars droid name. Knowing how to train small group leaders begins with clothing oneself with a COL2:6n7 perspective. COL2:6n7 stands for (you guessed it), Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV) “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
When you consider the idea of recruiting, training, encouraging, supporting or helping small group leaders troubleshoot, this is the perspective we need to clothe ourselves in. We need a close relationship with Jesus–one that finds our identity and encouragement in Him and one that is grateful for His continuing work on our behalf (Romans 8:34). Church leader, if you struggle in this area, then training a small group will be very difficult and fruitless without Jesus involved (John 15:5).
Clothe Myself with T.A.P.?
Knowing how to train small group leaders also begins with T.A.P. which stands for Tenacity, Attitude and Persistence. These qualities simply sum up the character needed to lead other people: gumption. Click on the link to the left and you’ll find it defined as initiative, aggressiveness, resourcefulness. In other words, whether it’s recruiting, training, troubleshooting, firing a volunteer, or whatever, T.A.P. is required whether we like it or not. Can’t find a supporting Bible verse for this? Look at the life of Jesus. Was He passive? Did He shirk responsibility? Was He a One Approach Fits All kind of guy? Nope. I dare say He had T.A.P. and wants to give that to us (even though we may be cut from the timid cloth.) Another way of saying this is, BOLDNESS. So where do I find that boldness? In my relationship with Jesus Christ.
Question: What character traits do YOU think are necessary in how to train small group leaders?