Small Group leaders can have an incredible impact on your ministry, your girls, and even the families of the girls they lead. As eager or as hesitant as a leader whether seasoned or new may be, here are a few tips to set them up well to lead and love the girls in your ministry!
1. Plan your training to match the method you’re teaching.
Don’t just encourage leaders to be engaging, change their method of communication every 5 minutes, use examples, and call names all by reading a boring handout or monologuing for 45 minutes. Show it! Plan your leader meetings and trainings to match the method you would love to see your small group leaders embody.
2. Give clear expectations.
As a small group leader myself, I cannot emphasize this enough. Clearly state what time you would like your small group leaders to arrive to small groups and how long they should go. Make sure to tell leaders the same things parents are expecting. Share with leaders what you expect as far as outside of group engagement in a girl’s life, involvement in the church, how they carry themselves (especially on social media), and what boundaries to have with students. Some leaders may constantly be worried they aren’t doing enough and comparing themselves to others, while some leaders may not take the initiative to meet your expectations, simply because they are not sure. (PS Don’t be afraid to send reminders!)
3. Emphasize relationship over information.
I have experienced many training settings where we learn so much about the curriculum planned, yet the leaders are given little to no tools on connecting to students. Encourage your leaders from the start that students (especially high school) will care as much about what you teach them as they know you care about them. Know your girls names. Ask how to pray for them. Text them and check-in on prayer requests they shared. Earn their trust.
4. Give clear policies of how you will support them and what they should report.
Don’t just tell small group leaders what is to come and set them free. Share with them your plan to continuously support them as they lead. Give a schedule of events just for small group leaders (e.g. Friendsgiving, Christmas party, etc.) Share resources that are available to them and communicate up front what your leadership expects them to report from attendance to abuse and how to go about it.
5. Express gratitude.
These leaders have so much going on and are choosing to sacrifice their time to love, lead, and disciple your girls. Communicate you are thankful from the start and continue to look for ways to not only care for and encourage them as they lead, but for ways to create community amongst your leaders!
I am praying for incredible ministry this Fall amongst our girls who are so ready and in need of face to face interaction with people that see and know them as they point them to Jesus!
Emily Katherine Johnson lives in Rome, GA serving as the Coordinator of Discipleship Programming with the WinShape College Program and just married her best friend, Emery! EmK fell in love with girls ministry in her own student ministry in Spartanburg, SC and still enjoys mentoring middle and high school girls. Emily Katherine has a Masters of Divinity in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and she recently released a book on authenticity and grief entitled, Let’s Be Real! Connect with Emily Katherine: Website // Instagram