The Best Way to Raise Up New Small Group Leaders

In John 5:19, Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”

Organic apprenticeship is the best way to raise leaders in your church. You don’t need heavy training or extensive leadership-development programs. You can raise leaders by looking for the people who have been in your system and are familiar with it–those who are watching what you do and are eager to repeat it.

I call this type of leadership development organic apprenticeship because when it’s done correctly, it’s a very natural process. It’s the way Jeuss trained his disciples and the way Paul trained his new church leaders. In John 13:15, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” In 1 Corinthians 4:16, Paul echoes Jesus’ training philosophy: “I urge you to imitate me.”

So what does that look like for your small groups?

Each of your groups should have a group coordinator. This person assists the group leader during the semester in order to prepare for leading a group in the future. A coordinator helps the leader by emailing the group before each week’s meeting, setting up a snack schedule, and leading one or two group discussions during the semester.

As a coordinator becomes immersed in the life of a group, learning from and helping a current leader, they are getting the training needed to lead a group the next semester. A coordinator learns by watching and by doing, not by sitting through hours of training or seminars.

Organic apprenticeship is the best way to raise leaders in your church. Click To Tweet

As such, you should continually remind your small group leaders to be on the lookout for potential leaders within their group. These potential leaders can become coordinators for the current group or for their group the next semester, and then they will be prepared to step up as group leaders after that. In essence, you are teaching your current leaders to grow new leaders through this four-step process:

  1. I do and you watch.
  2. I do and you help.
  3. You do and I help.
  4. You do and I applaud.

You will pour into an initial set of leaders, who will pour into other leaders, who will in turn pour into other leaders after that, and on and on. Eventually, you will not even know all of the leaders in your church, but each one will have been raised through this organic process and have knowledge that is traceable to those first leaders you invested in and trusted as you learned to let go of the need to control.

– Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas, with Jennifer Dykes Henson

The above excerpt is from pgs. 99-100 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 85 church growth resources and 17+ 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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