This question comes to our office every month via texts, emails, phone calls or drop in visits.  If you know LifePoint you know that we love to try new things, spend time living in the Research and Development department, and correlate the findings into a plan that we will pilot or beta test. The following list is not all-inclusive or permanent, but some of these practices may help your ministry.

Our Small Group Leaders (SGL) have developed along with LifePoint to the point they are not fearful of or avoid training and development.  We started years ago with the HOST style of leadership where the SGL operated the DVD for the weekly study and kept conversation going around the material presented on that DVD.  We did a poor job training these HOSTs once we had them in place to lead a group and our groups were not producing the disciples we desired.

Leadership Camp (see info-mercial for Leadership Camp) .  We have designed this six-week training on Sunday mornings on most of our campuses throughout the year.  The six weeks include 3-weeks on what it means to be a disciple and 3 weeks on how to lead a small group. If you use the HOST model, please learn from our mistakes.  I would encourage you to design and calendar in a few training sessions before you launch new groups. (Planned by semester)

Huddles: Three times a year I am able to meet with every Small Group leader, whether they lead on or off campus.  This happens via Huddles in my office on Sunday mornings during one of our worship hours.  We invite 8 Leaders, by gender, to come together for an hour, three times a year. Each Huddle has basically 2 questions: how’s your family, how’s your small group. This has been the most productive leadership time for Huddles and Coaches/Directors. (Planned by semester)

SG Luncheons: Three times a year every Small Group Leader and their co-leader are invited to a luncheon right after church services.  Luncheons include stories, giveaways, training principle, vision casting, lunch and free childcare.  We hold these meetings to 1 hour!  (planned one year out)

One-on-one Lunches: I cannot think of one single thing that has helped in leadership development more than a personal lunch with one leader/couple.  This focused time to be transparent, answer questions, deal with issues, etc has really reaped great dividends for our ministry. (Planned weekly)

Weekly Reports: Your Data Base is very important in keeping up with what is going on in the group.  This goes way beyond attendance. We use Church Teams (@churchteams) which automatically sends an email to the Leader or Reporter the day after their scheduled meeting.  It may take a few months to help transition the leader from just attendance mode, but it is worth the effort.  Look for activities, study material, prayer request and then attendance.  Make a mental note and respond to every report with a personal message.  (If you have over 10 groups, you may consider adding a coaching structure to your ministry).

Retreat/Banquet: Leader development & celebration in which we offer skill development for our team as well celebrating the team.  This is usually a special location that our team would not normally go to or a special guest speaker about whom the team would be excited.  (Planned 4-6 months in advance)

What does your leadership development structure look like?
How far out do you plan these opportunities?
Who could help you plan, prepare and carry out one of these (Share the Load)?