Everyone who wants to be a small group leader isn’t going to be a capable small group leader. This is just a fact. Once your church establishes the criteria for group leadership, there will be those who don’t meet those requirements.
What do you say to those people or do for them when you find yourself having to tell them they’re not ready for group leadership? A few suggestions:
- I am so honored that you have as your goal to be a group leader. At this point, I think there’s still some areas of growth that need some work. Would you be willing to be an apprentice for now?
- All of us are given specific spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit gives them just as He determines. You have much to offer a group but the gift set you’ve been given is not right for small group leadership. I have a super leader who really needs someone like you to take on a role in her small group. Would you be willing to be in that group and make a huge Kingdom difference by taking on that important role?
- I can’t thank you enough for considering being a small group leader. While I know this is something you want to do, I’ve been watching you and it seems to be that your deepest passion is ___________________________ (weekend worship gatherings, discipling students, working with children, or some other ministry area in the church). I think we’d be doing you an injustice by placing you in the group leader role. Let me connect you with the staff member responsible for the ministry that is right for you.
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.”
perhaps…. make a questionnaire. have the small group leader candidates fill out a form consisting of several important questions.
1) What is the vision of small groups in our church?
2) Have you read and agreed to the small group leader guidelines?
3)What experience do you have in leading small groups?
4) If you were to lead a small group, what would the group look like in your vision?
5) Why do want to lead a small group?
6) Are you willing to train and develop others to eventually take over your group or start their own?
If a person is willing to sit down and write out good answers to these questions, even if they are not ready to lead, they are at least ready to be trained / developed. These and other questions will reveal to the candidate their true intentions.