Is Small Group Leader Training Important?

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.

    1. Michael Mack April 25, 2016
      • Roger Carr April 25, 2016
    2. Derek May 11, 2016

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