The starting point for any person playing any role in any endeavor is for that person to know what their responsibilities are. This is especially true for the small group point person during a church-wide campaign.
What are those specific responsibilities?
- Work alongside the senior pastor to determine a study on the campaign theme or topic that is usable for short-term group leaders (leaders who have never led a group but are willing to do so during the six week church-wide campaign). I would suggest using a video driven study anytime you do a church-wide campaign. Leaders who have never led a group before can be recruited easily as you can honestly recruit them saying, “If you can push a button (start and stop the DVD), clean your house, have some snacks available, and ask a few questions, you can lead this group, and we only need you to do this for six weeks.”
- Enlist short-term group leaders, those who aren’t presently group leaders but are willing to lead a group during the church-wide campaign. This is the key to an effective church-wide campaign. Many people who are not presently in a group haven’t joined one because there is no one leading a group they like and/or respect or there isn’t a group that they click with. Those who may have never joined a group will do so during the campaign for three reasons, 1) this is a church-wide emphasis and everyone is expected to be involved, 2) it’s only a six week commitment, 3) there’s someone leading a group they like and/or respect.
- Train short-term and pre-existing group leaders. Don’t overdo this. Unlike training ongoing small group leaders, you’ve asked these people to simply open their doors and host a conversational Bible study. I’d suggest you cover the following things, 1) creating an emotionally warm environment, 2) the importance of and how to make people feel welcome, 3) an overview of the study the group will be using, 4) what the segments of the group study are and how to lead the study. If you climb deeply into other aspects of small group leadership you’ll find that some of these willing short-term leaders will want to bail. I suggest you invite pre-existing group leaders so that you can cast vision for all and train these leaders concerning how to lead this particular study.
- Register people in groups that aren’t presently in a group. Have as many on ramps as possible including, 1) a kiosk in the church lobby, 2) a way to sign up on-line, 3) tear-offs on the worship guide that can be filled out and placed in the offering plate, 4) calling the church office, 5) contacting a pre-existing group’s leader personally, 6) and any other way you can think of!
- Place short-term group members into groups. Your culture will determine best who to place in what group. I would suggest you determine who is in what group based on one of the following affinities, 1) location (this is especially wise if you’re a regional church), 2) age, 3) stage of life (unlike age, stage of life means the age of someone’s children (i.e. parents of teens or retirees) 4) workplace.
- Get pre-existing groups and group leaders to open up to new people during the church-wide campaign. Sometimes it’s necessary for pre-existing groups to allow others to join them during the six week campaign. This is especially true when there are more people needing to be in a group than there are leaders to lead groups.
- Alert present group leaders when the campaign will begin. This is essential and should be done as soon as possible, as you don’t want group leaders to start a Bible study then demand they interrupt that study to do the church-wide campaign study. This is very frustrating for group leaders and will cost you a lot of time as you are forced into difficult and discouraging conversations.
- Order and distribute Bible study curriculum. Ordering curriculum is an easy thing to do if you. Distributing, not so much. Obviously, you’ll need to get the leader kit (if the curriculum you’re using demands a leader kit) into the hands of every group leader. You will also need to get a study guide into the hands of every group member. Pass out leader kits to group leaders at each of the small group leader training experiences. At the same event, give the group leader the number of study guides necessary for them to give one to each group member that is assigned to their group. The group leaders can then pass the study guides out at the first gathering of the group.
- Be available to answer questions or connect every group leader to a coach who is wiling and available to answer questions. Everyone needs someone to answer the questions they have. This is especially true of a new leader. Whether that leader is leading for six weeks or six years, the questions will be the same during the first six weeks of group leadership. If a group leader doesn’t feel they have someone supporting them, they quickly grow discouraged and cynical which may ultimately be harmful to the reputation of your groups ministry.