As we continue to make disciples, recruit leaders, and form groups, we are learning important things about what works and when those things work. While campaigns are great for recruiting new leaders, they are not a long term disciple making strategy. There are some exceptions, but for most churches campaigns help with the “Come and See” phase, but eventually you need to grow up your leaders and grow up your groups for the “Come and Die” phase and the “Go and Make Disciples” phase. Some of this can happen simultaneously, of course. The point is once the goal of connection is achieved, other goals need to fall into place. Instead of permanently “lowering the bar,” you need to “delay the requirements” meaning that at some point they’ll come back.
The key to a success small group ministry that produces disciples is a complete system. Often churches will take part of a system like using church-wide campaigns to connect their congregation and end up with partial results. The church gets a lot of people into groups very quickly, then watches those groups disappear almost as quickly. There is a better way.
To successfully produce disciples, the church needs a system approach. While the parts are good, the system is much better. This system includes:
1.How You Recruit Leaders. 2.How You Coach and Support Leaders. 3.How and When You Train Leaders. 4.When You Bring Back the Requirements. 5.How You Guide Your Groups with Curriculum and Training. 6.How You Integrate Personal Disciplines, Group Meetings, and Experiences.
Using on Part of the System Just Won’t Work.
Here are some resources to help you put the whole system together and successfully make disciples:
Last year I published a book that I literally started writing 25 years ago, Leading Healthy Groups: A Guide for Small Group Leaders. While I had led various groups prior to then, in 1994 our church launched groups for the very first time. Having gleaned from Dale Galloway, Rick Warren, Pat Sakora, Jeffrey Arnold and his Big Book of Small Groups and a few others, when it came to leading leaders, there were a lot of things to figure out. We could only prepare our leaders so far before we began to discourage them or scare them. The rest of their training came as they needed it.
Starting back then, I began collecting my leaders’ questions
as well as the answers I gave them. This was the start of the book. As our
groups multiplied, so did the questions. I added all of those to the file.
Then, when I served a larger church, we would survey our 400 or so group
leaders to see what problems they were facing or what issues were coming up in
their groups. I wrote a weekly blog with answers to the relevant questions for
all of our leaders. This was the start of allenwhite.org.
Train their coaches by giving them answers to
their leaders’ potential questions.
Create streaming video training to send out to
their group leaders.
Put the book directly in the hands of their
leaders so they have answers as their questions arise.
I’m not the first person to write a book for small group
leaders. In fact, originally, I didn’t even intend to write a book. But, as my
leaders asked questions, I saved the answers. Now, the answers are available to
you and your leaders.