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Nine Keys to Effective Small Group Leadership

Some books get scanned and end up filed away in a bookcase.  Others are read thoroughly–maybe even marked up–but still just get shelved and forgotten.  And then there are books like Carl George’s Nine Keys to Effective Small Group Leadership.  Originally published in 1991, this is a great book and one you’ll use again and again.

While Nine Keys is written from a higher leadership bar perspective*, it has the potential to serve as the curriculum for leader development beyond the initial test drive stage.  One of the most compelling aspects of the nine keys is that they’re not primarily skill training, but heart and mindset development.

As you can see from the title, the book covers nine essential leader development concepts.  What you can’t see from the title is that each chapter includes a “how to” checklist and a set of “to dos.”  You’ll come away with an easy to incorporate development syllabus.

Here are the nine keys:

  • Connect: Build a strong link with the pastoral staff
  • Recruit: Keep your leadership nucleus fresh and growing
  • Invite: Cultivate a larger contact group through enthusiasm and care
  • Prepare: Tailor a plan that you prayerfully personalize to your group and apprentices
  • Meet: Convene your group in such a way that people genuinely experience the Body of Christ
  • Bring: Help each group member appreciate the whole church through larger corporate worship
  • Serve: Make time to serve needs in and beyond the group
  • Win: Initiate the kind of outreach that makes Christ to people
  • Seek: Experience the renewal of God’s strength as you regularly meet with Him in secret

You may not be in philosophical agreement with everything you read in Nine Keys.  You might have moved away from the notion of birthing groups as the primary way you launch new groups.  You might have adopted a very low bar approach to recruiting potential leaders.  No matter.

I included Nine Keys in my GroupLife Reading List for Summer 2011 because this is a great book and packed with leadership principles that are timeless and relevant regardless of the model you’ve selected.

*In Carl George’s Meta Church model, apprenticeship is the primary leader entry point.  There is a high expectation from the very beginning for intentional leader development.

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Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.