If you’re going to start new small groups, you must have new small group leaders. There is a healthy and effective process for recruiting group leaders. Below you’ll find a step-by-step process that may be helpful when attempting to recruit group leaders one on one.
Step 1: We need leaders. The small group pastor must acknowledge that the group ministry needs leaders.
Step 2: I notice you. The small group pastor or small group coach strategically begins to look for those people who have the gifts and abilities, the passion for small groups, and the relational facilities to be a small group leader.
Step 3: I connect with you. The small group pastor or coach begins to connect with the possible small group leader in hallway conversations, around the table at a restaurant, or in his or her own home. This happens prior to asking this person to lead a small group. The church leader is simply seeing if this person really does have what it takes to become a small group leader.
Step 4: I believe in you. It is at this point that the small group pastor or coach realizes that they believe deeply enough in this person that they are ready to ask them to become a small group leader. They must believe that this person will be a healthy small group leader and add to the small group ministry team.
Step 5: I invite you. It is at this point the small group pastor or coach—that is, the person recruiting the new small group leader—asks this person to become a small group leader. Sentences that could be used in making the ask may start with the following phrases:
- I’ve been praying and…
- I see in you…
- I want you to join me in… (vision)
- It will demand…
- If you will I will… (equipping)
- I’ll check back with you in…
Once the new leader has agreed to come on board, the small group pastor or coach must then train them properly for group leadership.
Rick Howerton is the Small Groups and Discipleship Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. He has authored many small group studies, is a highly sought-after trainer and speaker, and is the author of Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual as well as A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic. He is also the co-author of Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making and Countdown: Launching and Leading Transformational Groups. But Rick’s deepest passion and his goal in life is to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.”