I’m finishing up the 4 part series by sharing our ongoing leadership training strategy of S2 (Shared Skills) training and the Grouplife Leaders Conference. To completely understand how we do this, I must first explain about our 6 Grouplife leader essentials (again, gleaned from my time at Northpoint). I believe that we could train on a number of things and probably do a great job. But, the average leader (person) out there is barely going to remember the main title…much less any of the content. So, our strategy is to narrow the focus. Narrow our topic down to 6 essentials and then repeat the often.
So, here are the 6 essentials:
- Think Life Change
- Promote Participation
- Cultivate Communication
- Replace Yourself
- Provide Care
- Multiply Influence
Each time we do a Grouplife training event, we focus on one of these essentials. This is absolutely brilliant. It takes the guessing game out of it. Next S2 training we do in August will be on Multiply Influence. All about multiplying your group so you can reach more people that desire community just like you. I love it.
S2 (Shared Skills)
We hold the S2 trainings twice a year. March & August (nothing sacred about those months…I don’t have a bunch of other stuff in those months and it evens out with the Grouplife Leaders Conference (next). We hold the same training twice in one Sunday. Yes, I said Sunday. We’ll cover the material/discussion at 10:30 & 12:15 during 2 of our services. That way, our leaders can go to their service then come to the training. We feed them well (always) and send them away with a nice gift (always). Here is how the training time goes. We allow about 65 minutes for the training. We start by sharing the overall vision of groups (never hurts to keep the vision in front) then we go into the essential for that time and do about 15 minutes on that essential. Then we have 2-3 discussion question (on topic) at each table. The table full of leaders will then take about 10 minutes and discuss these questions. Then we pull it back together…banter some of the discussion…present for another 5-8 minutes…and throw it back to the table for discussion. We try to have at least 3 discussion times. The whole idea of the “shared skills” is for the leaders to discuss and share their skills from their experiences. I love these training times and I know that our leaders love them as well. I encourage all our leaders to bring their apprentice leaders with them to experience the training and prepare them to lead. Great value add for the apprentice leader. I love the S2 environment.
Grouplife Leaders Conference
The Grouplife Leaders Conference is the last weekend of October. Again, nothing really sacred about October….just that our grouplink was at the end of September and I want to stay away from November & December. Sometimes you just have to think that way when it comes to the calendar. Last year this event was a huge success. It went from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM. In that time we fed the leaders a nice hot breakfast & lunch. Gave each of them a very nice gift including a new book…Starbucks card…and a bunch of stuff I don’t really remember??? The primary goal for this training is to love & honor the leaders….and then provide direction & training. Also during that time we had GREAT worship together and 2 keynote sessions that were a little more like a breakout/S2 session. I like to keep the flavor of the keynote very much like the S2 table sharing time. I just think that is a great learning environment for most of the leaders. I’ve found that even the most experienced leaders feel insecure when it comes to leading a group from the church in spiritual matters. That’s why the group discussion format works so well. Let me say this…if someone is TOO comfortable leading in “spiritual matters”….keep an eye on them….just a teeny weenie warning. The keynote sessions are typically done by myself & Pastor Troy. Here is the way I think….when it comes to our leaders…I will pull out all the stops every time I’m eyeball to eyeball with them. Without our great small group leaders…we don’t have small groups. I love all of our leaders. I think it was Howard Shultz who said that they’re customers are all precious souls (if I misquoted…sorry). Like that quote, I see all our small group leaders as precious souls and I greatly value their leadership.
That is my strategy for training small group leaders. I’m sure it’s not perfect and I’m confident that it will change. Here is what I know, meeting with and investing in leaders is the one thing that gives me my greatest professional charge.