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Finding great volunteers to lead in our student ministry is a challenge but training them to be great small group leaders is just as difficult. The reason training is so difficult is because leading a group is an art not a science. Every small group is unique. Every group has its own vibe. Every small group is full of teens with different personalities! Being a small group leader can be intimidating! Because of all these factors we want to work hard to COACH (not just train) our small group leaders and provide them the guidance they need to be successful. Our hope is to place our small group leaders with teens we think they will connect with, give them the training they need, and provide them the opportunity to invest and lead. It has taken us several years of small group LIFE to figure out a coaching strategy but this worked for us this year…

  • We worked hard to put the small group team together and tried to explain our expectation right up front as we recruited leaders. We want to be clear up front about this adventure!
  • We gave each leader a small group leader packet so they could read over our strategy for leading group. This packet had all the details so they could look back over it on their own time.
  • We did a Sunday morning training with all our leaders. It was one focused 45 minute session but it was enough time to cast vision and work through the training issues we needed to hit.
  • We gave our small group leaders the names and ages of the kids they would be leading early so they could be praying for their group.
  • We launched groups and gave our leaders a chance to engage their groups. The only true way to learn about leading a teen small group is to do it!
  • We followed up with leaders at the end of the night to encourage and coach more.
  • We have plans to meet for training times one more time this fall and again in the spring as we continue to coach our group leaders! Waiting till later in the fall and spring gives us a chance to ask the leaders what areas they need help with! They help plan the coaching process!