Leadership Investment Rhythms

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Anything you want to grow, needs investment. Investment is the input and development is the output. Intentional investments made over time into building up group leaders will empower them to create healthy environments where biblical community will grow. This requires meaningful touch-points in different ways with enough frequency that leaders feel known, loved, included, and challenged so they continue learning and growing.

Different leaders need different kinds of investment and care. This will look different for each leader depending on whether they are new or experienced in leading groups. In chapter 14 of Small Groups with Purpose, Steve Gladen unpacks this truth further by identifying four categories of groups with each one calling for a different type and amount of care needed. For simplicity in this post, we will look at two general categories of “new” and “experienced” that will help you tailor your investment and expectations of leaders.

New leaders typically want time to interface with you in person and be connected with other leaders. They are helped by a higher frequency of touch-points that are more personalized. You want to love on these leaders and provide ample attention and direction, especially within the first few months as they get started.

Experienced leaders typically prefer a lower frequency of touch-points that don’t require as much in-person meetings. They need to know you’re there and care, but they don’t need the same level of engagement as new leaders. Keep these people in the loop and show your appreciation for them. Here are some suggested investment rhythms that will jump-start your brainstorming on what will work best for your leaders:

NEWEXPERIENCED
Pray for them regularly
Call or text twice per month
Meet in-person 1:1 or group format once every other month*
Send email or note 1-2x/mo
Visit group twice in first 6-mos
Be available as needed
Pray for them regularly
Call or text at least once every other month
Meet in-person 1:1 or group format at least once per quarter*
Send email or note 1x/mo
Visit group once per year
Be available as needed
* In place of the in-person meeting, host equipping events with new and experienced leaders together once every 3-4 mos.

Lastly, you might have an annual gathering or retreat with all group leadership to celebrate what God has done, love on your leaders, and cast vision for the year ahead. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to this so find what works best for your church and stay with it for at least a full year. Don’t change things too often on your leaders or your voice will begin to lose its potency.

One of things I’ve learned to stress with leaders, especially as they get started, is the importance of communicating with the person who looks after them (e.g. a “coach” or “community leader”) and staying connected with the larger community of leaders at your church. The foundation for this to happen consistently begins with monthly “connects” between coaches and their group leaders featured in the table above, which can happen in the way that’s most convenient for your leaders.

Satan loves to isolate leaders. Whereas God sets us apart for His work, the enemy strives to set us aside from God’s work. When leaders begin to withdraw from community themselves, the devil knows victory is within sight and their soul-care becomes a long, painful uphill battle. Conversely, when leaders are interconnected relationally and faithful to communicate with one another, it forms a shield wall the enemy struggles to penetrate.

For this reason, it’s also important to remember that YOU need investment too! Small Group Point People (SGPP) like yourself are all around and you can glean so many useful ideas and resources by joining a huddle or Community of Purpose (C.O.P.) through www.smallgroupnetwork.com. Being connected with other SGPP will help to keep your cup full while you make regular deposits into the lives of the leaders you look after in your church!