Small Group Team Leaders: Making the Big Ask

The below excerpt is from my book Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups. This revised and expanded edition shows church leaders how to make their small groups work. 

Teaching your team leaders how to make an effective big ask is perhaps the most important step in forming your small groups. Review this process with them every semester, no matter how many times they have asked people to lead groups. Everyone needs encouragement to keep on asking — and to keep on asking in the right way.

Ask how the potential group leader/coordinator is doing personally and how the current group is going (if they are currently leading one). Remember, one of your primary responsibilities is to provide support and spiritual leadership.

Ask if they would like to lead a group during the upcoming semester. Be prepared to share details of the upcoming semester, such as important dates. Be encouraging and supportive. Don’t use the word “need,” but let the person know that you want them to lead.

What if they say, “Yes, I would like to lead”?

  • Show excitement and give encouragement.
  • Give the date and time for the upcoming Growth Group leader training (it’s required).
  • Confirm as many of the details about the group as you can (day, time, location, study, group type, co-leader, coordinator).

What if the person says, “No I don’t want to lead”?

  • If they just want to take the semester off, thank them and let them know you will be in touch next semester and invite them to lead again.
  • If they never want to lead again, find out what the issue is, offer assistance, and, if necessary, ask if they would like to talk with a pastor. Always be encouraging and supportive of the person’s service.

What if the person says, “Maybe”?

  • Do your best to honestly alleviate any fears they have about leading. Suggest a co-leader or coordinator to assist.
  • Suggest attractive options for kinds of groups they might want to lead (ask your coach).
  • Let them know that you will be praying and will be in touch next week.

In all cases, be appreciative.

Ask the person if there is anyone in their current group that they would recommend as a leader or coordinator for the upcoming semester. You may have to encourage them to think about someone. Be sure to share the names of those potential leaders with your coach before asking anyone new.

Ask the person if there is anything you can do for them, or if there is a specific way you can be praying. Say thank you. Make sure the person knows that you want to serve them in any way you can.

Follow up with new names of potential leaders you were given during your conversation. Hopefully, every current group will have at least one recommendation for a new small group leader. First let your coach know, make sure the suggested person is approved, and then follow the above process with them. Be ready to suggest the topic or studies that your coach recommends. Keep your coach updated throughout the process.

– Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas, with Jennifer Dykes Henson

The above excerpt is from p.181 of Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups.

Drawing from the startling success of small groups at The Journey Church, Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas debunk the myths, set the record straight, and show how church leaders can implement a healthy small group ministry that gets the maximum number of people involved and solves many of the important problems facing churches of all sizes. These practical strategies will produce life-changing results.

P.S. – Click here to grab your copy from Amazon today!

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 80 church growth resources and 15+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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