by Bre Hallberg
How do you make time and create a rhythm for winning every week with small group leaders when you barely have time to shower, and brewing a K-Cup is too much of a time commitment? Spending time with SGLs (small group leaders) is a huge priority but how, oh how, do I make it all happen? I work full-time, have three kids, and finding time to add SGLs into the rhythm of my week, my month, my year, is as complicated as telling two people you love them but only having one rose to hand out at the Final Rose Ceremony.
SGLs have lives too. They have families, school, jobs, full schedules, and love lives (well most of them.) Here is how I create space in my life and increase my capacity for caring for small group leaders.
First, it’s not all on me! I have help. They are my Small Group Coaches. They are my heroes, and I tell them that often. These amazing volunteers help me care for all of our small group leaders. Secondly, I have a weekly plan and a seasonal plan to make sure we, as a ministry team, don’t drop the ball on caring for leaders. It’s something I think about, schedule, and put on my planning calendar. Here is a peek into how it works in my ministry environment:
1. Small Group Coaches check in weekly – Every SGL has a coach whose only job is to care for them. SGLs get at least one personal contact each week from their coach, even if it’s just a quick fist bump and a “Hey, how did small group go tonight?” Sometimes it’s a short text or face-to-face conversation before or after student programming. Maybe it’s a Facebook message, a card, or a quick phone call. I have a handful of small group coaches per ministry grade who help care for our SGLs so I don’t have to figure out how to clone myself or have a room full of people in fancy clothes fighting for my attention. Oh wait, that’s a reality TV show.
2. Small Group Coaches check in seasonally – Together with my coaches, we step up the conversation through Coffee Talks. We schedule Coffee Talks every three months with each small group leader. Leaders like free coffee so they usually say yes. I admit, it can totally be awkward if you are an introvert and just starting to get to know a leader. It can also be way too easy to walk away from having coffee with a leader and realize, “Oops, I never actually found out anything about their small group!” Because all you talked about was March Madness or Donald Trump’s hair. Oops. It does happen.
What’s helped me a ton is to use the Coffee Talks from Weekly. A cup of coffee and the coffee talk questions are all I need to fuel great conversations. I appreciate how the coffee talk questions are shaped by Lead Small principles and are open ended to help launch into some really great discussion. Using the same questions from Weekly’s Coffee Talk (though I edit them a bit to my context) helps my team to all be on the same page and make the most of our java chip Frappuccino time with leaders (that counts as coffee right?) Doing coffee talks seasonally also helps my leaders and I know how small groups are going and alert us to any potential challenges we may have missed if we were not checking in on them every three months.
This is how I manage to connect with SGLs on a crazy busy schedule. What is working for you?