The training of other leaders is a crucial element within a healthy youth ministry because there’s too much work for one leader to accomplish!
Since there is no “one way” to train small group leaders, here are a few big-picture ideas that have shaped our thinking in training small group leaders:
Keep the training short and simple.
You don’t want your leaders to check-out before they even get started. (How’s that for short and simple?)
…| 366 devotions by doug fields to connect your students to God’s Word
…| One Minute Bible for Students
Teach vision and values.
Not everyone is a big-picture thinker, but every small group leader in your ministry needs to know where you’re going and how you want them to help you and the ministry get there. Paint a clear picture of what a healthy small group looks like and articulate the values that will get them there. When a leader can understand and remember the “destination” as well as a few values, he or she can apply them to their personal ministry. (Review yesterday’s list of 10 rewards as an example of some small group leader values.)
Give your leaders the basic guidelines they will need to succeed with a small group of teenagers. Two things about the basics: (1) they are incredibility important, and (2) they are easily forgotten. Every new leader needs to hear the basic essentials and veterans need to be reminded (even if they don’t think they do). The potential danger in practical training comes when there are too many rules, regulations, tips, suggestions, ideas, thoughts, etc. When this happens, leaders get overwhelmed rather than empowered. (Keep it short and simple… and practical).
Focus on encouragement.
We’ve found that no practical training is more beneficial than encouragement. People learn how to become good small group leaders… if they don’t quit too soon. They need you to cheer them on and celebrate their participation.
Have something more for the veteran leaders.
Veteran leaders need more than the basics in order to continue their growth, development and effectiveness as ministry leaders. We have allowed our veteran leaders to help teach some of the basic material to the new volunteers and have also allowed the veteran volunteers to create some “advanced” training for their peers. Some of the most practical advice comes from other leaders who are doing small group leading week after week.
What additional thoughts do you have about training?