By Allen White
Over the years, the traditional method of recruiting coaches has always tended to fail me. I would select a reputable candidate, then I would sit down with them and talk about the role of a small group coach as outlined in a job description. Some were overwhelmed by the responsibilities. Others were enamored by the title, yet later proved to not actually do anything. As hard as it was to “hire,” it was considerably harder to “fire” them. So, I gave up on this method and found something better.
The solution was discovered in a moment of crisis. My senior pastor and I had just successfully doubled our groups in a single day. Now, I had double the coaching problem. If we weren’t adequately coaching the existing groups, then how could we possibly coach an equal number of new groups. My minor coaching problem had just turned into a major problem. Then, the light bulb turned on.
If half of my leaders were experience and the other half were brand new, then half of my leaders knew what they were doing and the other half didn’t. The solution was sort of a buddy system. I paired them up and let them coach each other. After the campaign, the folks who showed interest and ability to coach were invited to coach more formally. Those who didn’t get around to coaching were thanked for their valuable time….
Since then, recruiting coaches has become a more effective, though unconventional, process. Here’s what I recently shared with Brett Eastman, founder of Lifetogether.com, and Steve Gladen, Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church on The Small Group Show:
I have never recruited another coach with a job description or based on their resume. We would start them with “helping” leaders. If they enjoyed it and were effective, then they would become coaches in a more formal role.
The initial job description for helping new group hosts and leaders simply became:
1. Call your new hosts and leaders once per week.
2. Answer their questions.
3. Pray for them.
The “helpers” who can accomplish these things over a 6-week campaign are prime candidates for coaching. Those who can’t pull this off are not the right ones. You’ll be glad you didn’t give them a title that you’ll just have to take away later.
By Allen White
By Allen White
Steve Gladen and Brett Eastman from Saddleback Church host a weekly web-based series called The Small Group Show and are adding The Small Group Leader Show as well. Each show features Training, a Testimony, Trends, Tips and resources for Small Group Pastors/Directors and now Small Group Leaders. Featured guests include small group experts such as:
Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church
Heather Zempel, National Community Church, Washington D.C.
Eddie Mosley, LifePoint Church, Smyrna, TN
Rick Howerton, NavPress
Bill Search, Southeast Community Church, Louisville, KY
Ben Reed, Grace Community Church, Clarkesville, TN
Spence Shelton, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, NC
Carolyn Taketa, Calvary Community Church, Westlake Village, CA
and, once in a while, you’ll even see me on the show.
The Small Group Show and The Small Group Leader Show are completely free. You just need to sign up by CLICKING HERE.
To view past episodes of The Small Group Show
By Allen White
Lateness is a bad habit. While there are occasions when most of us will run late once in a while, it is an exception. When you think about your group, the same people are consistently late. Once in a while, they may come early because they forgot to change their clock or something, but for the most part, they are consistently late. It’s a bad habit.
If you want to reinforce their bad habit, then hold off on starting the meeting until everyone has arrived. The latecomers will understand that the whole group will wait for them, so there’s no need to be on time. If you want the latecomers to think about changing their ways, then start the meeting on time. When they walk in and the meeting is already started, they will say, “Oh excuse me, I’m sorry for being late.” That little bit of awkwardness or embarrassment just might motivate them into being on-time next week.
Here’s the flip side: if you wait for people who are always running late, what are you saying to the group members who show up on time? By waiting for latecomers, you are dishonoring the people who cared enough to show up on time. My rule of thumb is this: respect those who are on-time by starting the meeting. Embarrass the latecomers. (I’m a Kansan. I can’t help it.) But, test me on this. If your group starts at 6:30 and you announce at 6:30 that you are no longer going to wait for the late people, but that you are going to start on time from now on, listen for the cheer.