Meeting with small group leaders is one of the most impactful things you can do as a small groups point person. Group leaders need care, coaching, and encouragement to stay in the game. While we all know this to be true, have you ever walked away from a one-on-one meeting with a leader and though, “did that even accomplish anything?”
In order to ensure that you make the most of the time spent with a leader, it is important to go in with a game plan. How will you make sure they are alright? Can you get a sense of how their group is doing? What particular skill do they need to be coached in?
Here are some impactful questions to have prepared to ask when checking with a small group leader.
Before you start talking about their small group be sure to check in on them personally. It is easy for us to get straight to business and explain our latest strategy but their health is the priority. So goes the leader, so goes the small group! So start your meeting with them by asking two or three questions like these:
- How are you doing?
- How is your family doing?
- How has God been working in your life?
- What Scripture is currently shaping you?
- What has your attention, thoughts, and energy?
- What relationships are you currently investing in?
- Who are you helping to take one step closer to Jesus?
Now it is time to dive into topics related to their small group! Asking good questions about their small group will do two things. Good questions will allow you to get a good picture of where they need coaching and they will also provide stories about how God is working in their small group! Try asking three to five of the questions below, depending on what season the leader is in—asking too many may overwhelm them.
What does a typical small group meeting look like?
Pay attention to what they prioritize in their small group. Is it forming relationships? Is it Bible study? What is missing or over-emphasized in their time together? This question helps you understand if the leader is aligning with your values in terms of structure, conversation, and culture.
How are the group members getting along?
If people are not forming relationships in their small group then it is a sign that they are focusing too much on the content and not enough on the people. Asking this question in the first few moments of the conversation shows the leader that relationships are what matter most in small groups!
How has attendance been?
This is a boring question, but it is one of the primary vital signs of the health of the group. Whether or not you track attendance for small groups, this question is one that the leader is really paying attention to. It is deflating for a leader to prepare, clean their house, and send out invitations only to have two people show up. This question will reveal an important aspect of the group: do people actually enjoy it?
Is anyone helping you?
If no one is helping them then it is only a matter of time until they burn out. One of the essential components of leading a group is empowering the group member’s leadership potential. Are they delegating the responsibilities of the life of the group to others? Are they replicating themselves by raising up an apprentice or co-leader?
What is the best thing about your small group right now?
While showing you where their group’s health shines, this question also delivers a gift that church leadership needs to know: stories about how God is at work! These stories will not only be encouraging for you and your senior pastor, but they are great content for your next campaign!
What is the most challenging thing about your small group right now?
This is where you can really focus on where they need coaching. Besides the personal care you provide a small group leader, getting into the trenches to solve their struggles alongside them shows them that you care! Be sure to listen well, encourage them, and offer some practical next steps to help them overcome the challenges they are facing.
Think of your conversation like a sandwich—coaching in the middle with care on both sides! End the conversation by praying for them then and there. By the time you get to this part, you will likely have a good idea on what you can pray for them about. It never hurt to ask the following questions as a way to close out your one-on-one with them.
- Is there anything I can pray for you about?
- Is there anything I can pray for your small group about?