Why don’t more group leads seek out and learn to be more effective from small group leader training?
I have been a volunteer and volunteer leader with several organizations over the last three decades. I discovered over the years the majority of volunteers and volunteer leaders just want to be told the minimum they need to do and how to do it. They don’t seek knowledge and wisdom that would help them do their best. They avoid attending training opportunities.
How important is small group leader training? We can’t talk about the importance of training without discussing the importance of small groups.
Importance of Small Groups
I have had the privilege of participating in effective small groups where:
- Members, family and friends have given their lives over to Jesus
- Marriages and other relationships on the verge of destruction were restored
- New, strong friendships formed
- People going through difficult seasons in life were loved and cared for
- Members significantly grew as disciples
When we consider those things God wants us to give high priority, it is easy to see why supporting small groups could be towards the top of our priority list. Small groups are important.
Importance of Leader Training
In his book How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, bestselling author Jim Collins reports on his research of why well-established companies crumble. He discovered that the decline happened in five stages.
“Stage 1 kicks in when people become arrogant, regarding success as an entitlement, and they lose sight of the true underlying factors that created success in the first place.”
Jim Collins in How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In
During the first stage of decline a company is actually performing as if it was very successful. However, if not careful that success is taken for granted and leaders become arrogant. The leaders start going through the motions of doing things that they’ve done in the past without knowing why. Another leader characteristic of this first stage of decline is that the leaders believe they know everything they need to know and stop learning.
I don’t believe it is any different for a church or small group. When leaders believe they know everything that they need to know and continuous learning is not a consideration, the church or group may appear to be thriving when in fact they’re stepping into the first stage of decline. This will ultimately result in being ineffective if something doesn’t change.
When James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner researched the traits needed to effectively lead, they also found that learning (and humility) was critical to be effective.
“The more you’re engaged in learning the more successful you are at leading – and at just about everything. One reason leaders take learning seriously is that they’re humble about their own abilities.”
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner in The Leadership Challenge
Small Group Leader Training Opportunities
There are many ways you can learn to be a more effective small group leader. Here are a few:
- Read books, magazines, and blogs. Click here to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss an article.
- Listen to audio training including podcasts. Search for terms like “small group leader podcast” and “leadership podcast” to get started.
- Seek out wise counsel from godly people who have demonstrated they have the experience and wisdom to give you sound advice. If your church has assigned you a coach, be sure to use that resource.
- Attend training events, conferences and seminars when possible, especially if they are hosted at your church.
Don’t limit yourself to training created specifically to small group leaders. There are great materials on leadership, communication, prayer, spiritual disciplines, organizing meetings, relationships, etc. that can be extremely helpful.
It was no accident that God put your group members under your care. Be humble and seek new learning opportunities that will help you to be more effective in the role God has called you to fill.
Question: What are the areas of training you want to seek out? What training have you found the most helpful in being more effective in your role as a small group leader? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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Just came across your blog, and really like your content for small group leadership here! As I read this post, Eph. 4 came to mind. The Point Leader’s responsibility is to equip God’s people for the ministry they do, which means a responsibility of God’s people is to be equipped and then to carry out God’s work in and through the body of Christ. The last thing we need is for God’s people to be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.
No one knows so much that they don’t need more equipping and coaching!
I appreciate your kind words. I enjoy and learn from your blog as well. Thank you for responding to this post.
I agree that small group ministry point people have a resposibility to equip the small group leaders. The small group leaders need to take advantage of those learning opportunities that are created. The ministry leaders are also great resources for identifying other training materials and opportunities.
I do encourage group leaders to also search for other learning resources that can help them be more effective. Each leader is unique and has different learning styles and needs. Access to other wise people, topics, and different methods of training to augment the training made available to all leaders increase the small group leader’s effectiveness. In fact, I have used techniques learned outside the local organization that were ultimately adopted by other leaders because they proved to be useful.
However, you point out a valid caution when doing this. The leader needs to apply discretion to ensure what they learn from their search is consistent with God’s Word, Holy Spirit’s guidance, and the specific small group program established by the church or organization.
Thanks for the insight!
How do you & how often do you coach/ communicate to your small group leaders in a months time?