Questions to ask when choosing leaders
We know many of you will be getting ready to run one of our series as the new term begins. We'll be posting a number of blogs over the coming weeks to help you prepare.
If you have overall responsibility for running a series and you plan to have a co-leader or several groups, you will need to choose and train leaders who will be responsible for those who attend.
We recommend a high ratio of leaders to group members, such as two leaders and six guests, or three leaders and nine guests. In order to deal with pastoral situations appropriately, it's advisable to assign a mixture of male and female leaders to each group.
Here are some questions to think through as you decide who to involve.
Is this person growing in their relationship with Jesus?
Leaders should be mature Christians who are growing in personal godliness. Paul lists qualities for elders and deacons (the nearest equivalent of a small group leader) in 1 Timothy 3. Are they hungry for God's word, increasingly prayerful and do they seek to live out the gospel in their life? Above all, leaders need to listen to Jesus’ words for themselves and to rely on him for forgiveness and strength daily.
Is this person able to teach the Bible faithfully and clearly?
Leaders should have a good understanding of the gospel and be able to clearly articulate it to others. Do they show potential ability to teach? Are they somebody who is teachable? Will they be able to deal with tough questions should they arise (there is a section on answering questions at the back of the Leader's Guides)? Will they be willing to lovingly but boldly teach what the Bible says even when it might be unpopular?
Will this person be able to promote discussion without dominating it?
Since so much of a session revolves around discussion, guests need to feel free to be open and honest in their group. Will the person you have in mind be good at encouraging people to share, and mature enough to hold back and weather awkward pauses when necessary?
Is this the the type of person who will make a guest feel welcome and cared for?
Rather than simply telling people about God's love, leaders must be willing to demonstrate that love by devoting time and attention to those in their care. Can they relate to and encourage others? Do they take an interest in and invest in the people around them? A leader's responsibility goes beyond seven or eight sessions. Relationships begun during the series are likely to develop into friendships that must be nurtured once the series is over. For this reason, if possible don't ask leaders to take on more than one series a year.
The key thing to look for is someone who shows potential and is growing in these areas, not 'the perfect Christian'!
Once you've identified your leaders for the year, plan in some time to train them up. For ideas on how to run this, sign into the Leader's Area and download the 'Setting up the Course' resource pack from the Christianity Explored
Leading can be daunting, whether you've been doing it for years or for the first time. As well as the printed leader's guides, our Leader's Area is full of handy explanatory videos and resources to help you feel equipped.
You just need to register your series or sign up as a table leader to get access if you don't have a log in already.
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Let us know by commenting below if there are other questions you have about leading that you'd like to see us blog about.