Small Group Leader Training Session 1

November 4, 2009 - Mac Lake - Small Group Leadership

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.

Part 1

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?

Small Group Leader Edu-tainment 1 from Seacoast Church on Vimeo.

Part 2

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:

The Heart of A Leader from Seacoast Church on Vimeo.

  • 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

Part 3

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?

Part 4

The Challenge

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?

Part 5

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?

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Mac Lake


My passion is multiplying multipliers

10 responses to Small Group Leader Training Session 1

  1. Mac, this is top rate stuff my friend. From the humor in the video to the questions asked, very intentional.

    I love the passage that was selected and the exercise that follows.

    Home run bro!

    Thanks for sharing,


  2. DeAntwan, thanks so much for the specific feedback. Glad you liked it. I’m thinking about posting all 5 sessions, one each week just so we can put it out there to get others to help us reshape the questions, the assignments and work together with a bunch of minds to make these sessions the best they can be. Thanks for the comment

  3. Mac,

    Thanks for sharing this. This is a powerful passage. I hope you don’t mind if I “steal” some of your stuff.

  4. Hey Mac,

    I’ve been following for awhile now and really enjoying it. I thought this post was really good, and like Steve mentioned above, I’m going to “steal” some of this stuff for our training this weekend…..we should have a pretty good group. I would like to see more video’s like that. Keep up the good work for the Kingdom!

  5. Mac,

    Virgil Grant, co-worker of Joe Outlaws and Senior Pastor at Eastside Baptist Church in Richmond, KY. What are your plans with these online videos (other than your use at Seacoast?)

    I have already taken the above and placed it on church’s small group blog and I have asked my small group coaches to view the materials. My goal would be to take all of Seacoast SG training videos and put them on our blog site and for them us to move to completely an online training format.

    Are you going to make the mentor materials available online as well?

    If you don’t want this material on our small group blog then just let me know and I will take it off.

    I think you have hit a grand slam. This provides real time training that can happen as life happens. It’s better than giving up a Saturday or several nights during the evening.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Great stuff! Great video material! But I was a little confused at first with the Session 1 questions. Correct me if I am misunderstanding what you are asking. You directed your group leader to go back to reflect on when they first were asked to be a leader with past tense verbs in questions #1 and #2 and then you move ahead to what they are feeling now with present tense verbs or at least that what I think you are asking. Would it be more clear to add the word “now” to the 4th question?
    1)What was your reaction when you were asked to be a small group leader?
    2) In what ways did you identify with Chris?
    3) What would you consider to be five (5) characteristics of a great small group leader?
    4)What doubts or fears do you have “now” about being a small group leader?
    5) What excites you the most about being a small group leader?

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