For three years now at Seacoast Church we have been using a Hi-tech, Hi-Touch online approach for our small group leader training. However, we noticed some deficiencies in our old training we weren’t happy with, so we did a revision. Our old training sessions consisted of short talking head videos along with some interactive journals, etc. We felt it was missing an emotional element. So our Creative Team got together and wrote what you might call a 5 part Small Group Sitcom. The sitcom element is intended to add some humor and examples (sometimes very bad examples) of small group leadership. As you watch the episodes it causes you to consider your own past small group experiences and creates a foundation for discussion with a mentor.
We are still editing the written portion of this training and thought, “Hey, why not throw it out on the blog for others to experience and give feedback.” So here is session one, we would love your input and ideas to make it better. Enjoy.
The Heart of a Small Group Leader
Welcome to Session 1, The Heart of a Small Group Leader. During this session we will discover the essential characteristics of a small group leader. An online journal has been provided for you to record your notes and thoughts or feel free to use a notebook of your own. Be sure to bring your notes when you meet with your mentor.
Video – “The Invitation”
Watch Part I of the video series, “Our Group” where Chris is asked by Doug and Michelle to take over their small group once they move away. When you have finished watching the video, reflect on the following questions:
- What was your reaction when you were asked to be a small group leader?
- In what ways did you identify with Chris?
- What would you consider to be five (5) characteristics of a great small group leader?
- What doubts or fears do you have about being a small group leader?
- What excites you the most about being a small group leader?
Video Teaching – The Heart of a Leader with Josh Surratt
During this session, Josh discusses the characteristics of a leader. When you have finished watching the video, reflect on the questions below:
- What stood out to you the most from Josh’s video teaching?
- Which of the following myths describes your thoughts about leading a small group?
- Spending hours in preparation
- Being a super-shepherd
- Being a biblical scholar
- In what way did the truths Josh shared change your perspective on leading a small group? Which of these do you need to focus on the most as a new leader?
- Be Available
- Help people connect
- Be a learner
Explore the Word – Read the following Bible passage and reflect on the questions below:
Shepherds and Sheep
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
11 ” ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
- Underline the positive characteristics of spiritual leadership in Ezekiel 34:11-16
- What happens when people don’t have good spiritual leadership?
- In your own words, what are the positive characteristics of a spiritual leader?
Now that you’ve thought through some key characteristics of small group leadership, now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Take time over the next few days and practice the following:
- Have a meaningful spiritual conversation with someone in your small group, someone at work or at school.
- Pray with someone in your small group individually about a concern in their life.
- When you meet with your mentor be prepared to discuss the following questions regarding your experience:
- Overall how did you feel as you practiced these two challenges (ie…Uncomfortable, Timid, Energized)
- What difficulties did you experience?
- What would you do differently next time?
- What did you learn from these experiences?
Meet with Your Mentor
Schedule a time to meet with your mentor and discuss what you learned from the various aspects of this session.
(For Blog readers – The mentor is typically the learners small group leader and is provided with a Mentor Guide that summarizes this lesson and provides questions for them to ask during the mentoring session)
Okay now it is time to give us some feedback…what can we do to make this session better?