Finding leaders who are committed to teaching God's Word, championing ministry, and reaching people in a small group can be challenging, but here are five ways to help you develop leaders within your small group ministry.
1. Always be looking for workers
When you are developing a small group ministry, make sure that you are intentional when you are training small group leaders. Teach them how to identify potential future small group leaders within their own group. Successful small groups often birth new small groups. If you teach your small group leaders to do the following, your small group ministry will be training and developing church leaders within that ministry and it will spill over into other ministries within the church. Here are some things your leaders should be looking for in the members of their own small group.
- A servant's heart
- Passion for discipleship
- Mature in their faith
- A heart for evangelism
2. Intentionally raise up apprentices
You should always be intentional when you are leading a small group. Look for members within your group that demonstrates a genuine passion for their faith, display leadership potential, and actively engage in the group's activities. they should show a desire to grow and invest in others. Once you identify someone that you think would make a good leader and have confirmed their interest in leading, spend some quality time with them outside of regular group meetings. Engage in one-on-one conversations, mentorship, and provide opportunities for them to share their thoughts and concerns.
3. Develop leaders as part of the assignment of making disciples
Develop a clear plan that outlines the stages of discipleship and spiritual growth. This plan serves as a guide for both leaders and apprentices, providing a structured framework for development. Gradually delegate specific responsibilities within the small group setting. Assign them tasks such as leading discussions, facilitating parts of the meeting, or organizing social activities. This hands-on experience allows them to develop their leadership skills.
4. Encourage and Equip
Offer intentional training and equipping opportunities for apprentices. Conduct one on one or small group training or classes that focus on topics such as biblical knowledge, group facilitation, pastoral care, and discipleship with other apprentices in your small group ministry. Identify and share resources, books, or online courses that can further enhance their understanding and skills. Pair each apprentice with a more experienced leader or mentor who can provide guidance, support, and accountability. These mentoring relationships help apprentices grow personally and spiritually as they receive guidance from someone with more experience.
5. Send leaders out to lead
As apprentices gain confidence and competence, gradually release more responsibility to them. Encourage them to lead discussions, initiate group activities, or even start their own small group. This process allows them to step into leadership roles with increasing autonomy.
Regularly provide constructive feedback to apprentices regarding their strengths and areas for growth. Evaluate their progress, celebrate their successes, and offer guidance for improvement. This feedback loop helps them understand their development areas and encourages continuous growth.
Foster a culture that values and encourages apprenticeship within the small group. Emphasize the importance of pouring into others, modeling servant leadership, and investing in the next generation of leaders. Encourage apprentices to identify and mentor others, creating a multiplying effect.