“I didn’t know what was missing in my life, but I found it through community in your small group. Thank you for listening to the calling God gave you to pour into us.” Holli K.
We know that life is better together, and as Holli discovered, through community in a small group.
Behind every great small group experience is a strong small group leader. Finding these leaders can seem challenging, but many times they’re right in front of you—attending regularly, serving on the weekend, or already mentoring people in your church.
To help you enlist these potential small group leaders, we spoke with Life.Church staff and asked them how they identify and recruit small group leaders.
7 Small Group Leader Recruitment Tips
- Look around you. This sounds simple, but ask God to give you eyes to see the people he has already put in your path. Look for people who stand out—those who consistently attend, engage with others in conversation, or always bring new people to church. This demonstrates commitment to the church and a genuine love of people—two qualities that make for an excellent small group leader.
- Speak life into attenders. Chances are, you have personal relationships with people you think would be a great small leader, but you’re afraid to just ask them. Asking someone to step into their calling isn’t something to fear—use this as an opportunity to speak life into them and highlight the specific ways you see how God has gifted them. Don’t shy away from having the conversation—you’re not asking them to “do more”—you’re asking them to walk in the giftings God has given them.
- Partner with other ministries. Work with other ministry leaders to identity volunteers on their teams who might make a great small group leader. Approach people individually and let them know the wonderful things their ministry leader said about them and why they thought they’d be a great small group leader. Also, after approaching a few key leaders individually, ask each ministry if you can talk about small groups at their next meeting, training, or weekend huddle.
- Launch new leaders from existing groups. Work with your existing small group leaders to see who is currently attending their group that is ready to step out and lead their own small group. They may not “feel ready” or want to leave the group, but launching new small groups from existing, healthy groups is one of the best strategies to make room for new attenders.
- Use the lobby. Let people know you’re looking for new small group leaders by setting aside a spot in the church lobby to have conversations and answer questions. Create a vibrant lobby presence with photos, balloons, and smiling faces. Ask some of your current leaders to volunteer to answer questions and direct newcomers to their next steps. If budget allows, you could offer some swag, like t-shirts, to new small group leaders.
- Leverage social media. Encourage current small group leaders to post about their groups, showing the support and fun they provide one another. Be sure to be strategic and post more frequently during the weeks you’re recruiting leaders or attenders. You can also create posts on your church’s social media platforms highlighting new small group leaders. Add their picture and why they chose to lead to help others get to know them and their group.
- Talk about small groups from stage. If possible, talk about the importance of small groups and encourage people to sign up to lead a small group during stage time. Remember that emotion causes people to act. Hearing stories about people finding community and purpose through small groups evokes emotion that can lead to action. Use videos, photos, quotes, and even your own personal story to stir attenders to act.
For many of our potential leaders, stepping into their calling can be intimidating. That’s where you come in—with the right mindset, onboarding process, and training, potential leaders can feel equipped and excited to start leading a new group. We hope that these ideas spark new life into your small group leadership search.
Additional Small Groups Resources
Whether you are just getting started in building up your small group ministry or need a few more ideas to help train your new leaders, the Open Network has a variety of trainings and resources available to you. Here are a few to help jump start your small groups season:
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