My friend, Lorraine DeMarco, passed from this life on October 8, 2020. She was a friend, a coach, a cheerleader, my hairstylist, and a reluctant leader. She taught me many important lessons. She was a reluctant leader. In fact, she wouldn’t have lead a group if our pastor hadn’t recruited for multiple weeks.

Image may contain: Lorraine DeMarco, sunglasses and closeup

The following is a story about Lorraine taken from Exponential Groups: Unleashing the Church’s Potential:

To capture the most new leaders possible, a longer promotional period followed by a short registration period is key. In addition, registering for three weeks is also a major factor. If the church registers new leaders for more than three weeks, then the invitation becomes “Yada, yada, yada,” and everyone waits until the last week to sign up anyway.

I was talking to the gal who cuts my hair about this one day. Why was I talking to her about this? Well, we talk about everything, and I have a captive audience. She’s not a barber, and I don’t like having a “stylist,” so we’ll just call her “Lorraine,” since that’s her name. Lorraine is retired, but she still has mercy on my hair. She is also a member of Brookwood Church, where I served. As I was spinning the tale of two churches with group launches and the importance of recruiting for three weeks, Lorraine spoke up, “I’ll tell you why it’s important to recruit for three weeks. That’s how Rich and I ended up leading a group.” (Lorraine is Italian and grew up in New Jersey. Do you have that picture in your mind?) She spun me around in the chair and started telling me her story, brandishing the comb toward my face for emphasis. (I was looking out of the corner of my eye to locate the scissors. I was safe.)

Lorraine went on, “The first week when our pastor from the stage invited us all to lead groups, I said, ‘Nope, there is no way I’m going to do that. No way!’ ” The comb wagged faster. “ ‘Then, the next week, he invited us again. I thought, ‘Hum, maybe I should think about this?’ When he invited us the third time, I said, ‘That’s it, Rich, we’re leading a group.’ See if the pastor didn’t ask three times, I wouldn’t be leading.”

I would have offered a high five, but I still wasn’t sure of where the scissors were located, so we just had some congratulations and a little laughter instead. Then, the haircut resumed.

If you only recruit leaders for one week amid many other announcements, you’ll miss the Lorraines who might lead if you asked them again. Lorraine led that group for 6-8 years, then she and Rich started attending a church closer to their home. The first thing Lorraine did was to start a new small group in her new church.

I miss you, Lorraine. I’ll see you in Heaven.