What do you do when you have a volunteer end their time in ministry to a group of girls? We all hate goodbyes, but for girls this can be especially devastating. When a girl hears that the person they have confided in, allowed into her “space” and shared her life with is no longer going to be in that “space,” she can have a wide range of emotions and responses.
When I was a sophomore, my girls minister responded to a call to missions and moved all the way around the world to Africa. I remember feeling of a gaping hole in my world and wondered who could ever fill her shoes.
The way my mentor transition me to a new mentor was a great model for me, even today. She celebrated what God had done in and through our friendship, and called the new leader who would be taking her spot and told her specifically about me. The new leader met with me and celebrated my previous mentor and gave me a chance to celebrate how God had used her in my life.
A couple years later, the new mentor took me on my first international mission trip to Africa to go visit that first mentor. As an adult, I can now see how each woman was used specifically in my life. Each had different gifts. Each had different ways of discipling me. I needed both of them in my life. The transition and the way they exited and entered was crucial to me as a teenaged girl.
Here are a few things I’ve done in different small groups to help transition girls to new leaders:
- Contact a co-leader to ensure they are aware the leader will be leaving.
- Communicate with girls at least a week prior to the leader leaving.
- If possible, bring in an additional co-leader who can begin to ease the transition in the weeks leading up to the leader’s absence.
- Work with the co-leader and the girls to design an appropriate time of fellowship and commissioning by saving the date and communicating with parents what is happening in their small group.
Have girls write notes during a donut party! Decorate with a poster DONUT in the center that says “DO-NUT think we won’t miss you but know we are praying as you take this HOLY step of obedience.” Have all the girls sign the poster.
At the end of the celebration, have girls place hands on the leader and allow them to recognize they are partners with her as she goes as a light from (CHURCH NAME) to (PLACE), sharing Christ. Share that the leader will depend on their prayers as she leaves.
PARENT EMAIL EXAMPLE:
Dear parent of ___(grade)_____ small group. We wanted to make you aware of some transitions happening with your daughter’s small group leadership. ___________ has recently surrendered her life to serving abroad for the cause of Christ. What an exciting time for your daughter to see an adult move through this process of obedience and calling!
In order to help with this transition, we are currently planning a time of celebration and commissioning for ___________. We know transitions can cause anxiety along with excitement.
We wanted you to help your daughter “SAVE THE DATE” for (LEADER’S) commissioning party. Please keep (DATE) saved for your daughter so she doesn’t miss this important time with her small group. We will have donuts and give the girls an opportunity to write notes and pray for her as she moves from here to her next place of service.
(LEADER) will continue to serve on Wednesday nights and we will prayerfully seek an additional co-leader in these coming weeks to serve alongside of her. Thanks so much for your partnership!
MISSION TRIP TO VISIT LEADER
If the leader is going to a mission field or another city to serve, work with the new leader to schedule a small group missions trip to serve alongside the former leader. I had the privilege of doing this with one small group of girls whose leader moved to New York to minister with a church plant. We did a girls-only mission catalyst with this group to partner alongside of their former leader. It was a powerful experience for these girls to commission their leader to leave and then to serve alongside of that commissioned leader months later.