Small group leader training…part 3

Interview, new leader orientation, & 1:1 twice annually



The interview with a new leader is probably the most favorite thing of anything I do.  Every time I leave one of the new leader interviews I am totally energized.  I will typically meet with them at Starbucks or in my office and the interview will last about 1 hr.  I start by asking them if they know why they’re meeting with me and usually they don’t (they do…).  I inform them that I’m interviewing them to lead their small group.  Something about that just makes the sit up a little straighter in the meeting.  I proceed by asking them to share their story with me.  How and when they crossed the line of faith?  Have they been baptized?  Have they led or participated in a group before?  What would they do the same/different when they lead their group?  Then I go into a series of questions that only require a yes/no answer but will typically lead into opening up a healthy dialogue on how we form our small groups.  Questions like: Do you buy into the mission/vision of New Life (80% in groups)?

Do you understand what is involved in creating a predictable environment?

Can you embrace a closed group model?…and do on.

I naturally ask if they are a member of our church.  We require that our leaders are member or at least moving toward membership.  We’re also currently putting together a leadership covenant.  Once we release that it will be part of this process.  I finish up with welcoming any questions…then inviting them to the new leader orientation.


New Leader Orientation

The new leader orientation is typically on a Wednesday night (we have built in child care on Wednesday nights).  We typically do this training 1-2 weeks before grouplink. It only takes about 1 ½ hrs.  We go through the Leaders Playbook  We can’t cover the entire play book in that time but we hit the important parts.  I encourage the leaders to read through the book on their own.  This is a great resource for all leaders.  We end this time by setting expectations for Grouplink.  Arrival time and the layout of the evening.



I meet with all of the married and men’s leaders for a one on one at least twice a year.  My assistant meets with the lady leaders.  This is KEY!  This meeting is how I stay connected with the leaders.  If I let this slip…a group could end…stop meeting….and leave the church and I’d never know.  My assistant books these meetings and I do everything I can to make it work for the leaders.  I’ll meet with them any time on Wednesdays and Sundays.  I will even book to meet with a couple leaders on Sundays when I’m not in service.  At these meetings I clarify that the names I have on my list are actually the people who are in the group.  I also verify the day/time they meet, when they started and when they plan to multiply.  Then we engage in a simple yet vital conversation about how they are doing.  How is their walk with Christ?  How is their marriage?  Is work going well?  How are their kids?  I take the bulk of this time to talk to them about them.  I’ll wrap up with a few details about upcoming training and coaching…then I pray with them.  This prayer time is vital.  Many times the leaders will be deeply moved by this prayer time.  Our small group leaders make great adjustments and sacrifices in their lives to lead…they deserve our 1:1 time, interest, and prayer.


Next time we talk about S2 and the GroupLife leaders conference.

What is the one thing that you do as the champion of Grouplife that totally energizes you?

2 responses to “Small group leader training…part 3

  1. What energizes me? Watching the lights go on. I get to train a lot of small group leaders in diferent churches and a surprising number of questions are the same. Throw out a few simple ideas that have worked in other settings and… the lights go on! When you are able to point them towards a solution you can see the wheels turning and the start of a smile… that’s a Kodak moment!

    Dave Treat

  2. I totally agree with you Dave. There’s nothing like spending time with someone who is “getting it”.

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