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What You Need to Tell New Leaders

It takes so much work and energy to find small group leaders that sometimes we drop the ball when it comes to getting them started. If they don’t start out well, chances are they won’t last long.

The first few weeks of small group leading are crucial. It’s when walls are broken down and relationships are formed. To set up your new small group leaders for success you need to:


They have their reason for getting involved, but if that first night is rough you want to make sure they know the answer to the “Why am I doing this?” question. Before they begin group, send them an email or write them a note that reminds them of the “Why?”

Knowing the why will give them comfort and motivation. It will be the foundation they need moving forward.


Your leaders will be so focused on the teens that they might forget about parents. Setting up a relationship with parents early on is huge. When parents know who is investing in their teens it will build trust.

Establishing the relationship early on good terms will help when parents and leaders need to connect over something more difficult. Tell your leaders to email, call and connect with each parent within the first week of small groups.


If you want your leaders to arrive at a certain time, behave in a certain way, then you need to be clear with your instructions. Setting clear expectations early on is key to efficient and productive ministers.

Make sure you communicate these frequently. Make sure your returning leaders are on board so that they can help you set an example. Set expectations early so that you aren’t addressing negative behavior later.


Your new leaders are going to be nervous. Having to fumble through materials is going to be a challenge. Set them up for success by making sure all questions about materials are addressed. If possible, organize their materials for them so that they are ready to go on day one.


Right before they serve, offer them words of encouragement. After they serve, thank them for their service. Make sure you show them your appreciation and never forget to say thank you.

Starting out in ministry is challenging. Your leaders want to impress the teens and they want to impress you. Make sure they are clear on what they need to do so that they can focus on what’s most important: growing disciples.

What else do you tell the new leaders in your ministry?