How do you develop students in your small group into leaders?
Steven: One of the biggest challenges (but also payoffs) for me is developing leaders in a small group setting. It’s not as difficult a challenge as it may seem, but the payoff in having a hand full of students who develop into leaders is huge.
The first thing I have to keep in mind is that not everyone is called to be a leader. As much as I would love for all 12 of my guys to walk away as leaders, it’s just not how all of them are wired. I only have 3 or 4 right now that I consider to have leader potential–but that’s great! Since there are only a few in the group, the question is how to develop those students without outcasting the others.
For me, leader development happens through one-on-one conversations. One of my favorite things to do is take a student to lunch or coffee and talk about how God is working in them. The thing I always do at the end of those conversations is leave them with a challenge. This challenges them to grow and develops them into the leader that I know they can be. These intentional conversations are the things that I’ve seen the most fruit come from when it comes to leaders.
Matt: In each high school small group that I have led I have very quickly picked out who the leaders were going to be. Being a leader is something that you need to be shaped for and have the ability and drive for. My dad had a saying, “Some people are singers, some people are dancers and some are just meant to sit in the audience.” That’s true with being a leader as well. The tricky part is building and developing those leaders without alienating the others in the group.
I think part of our jobs as leaders is to bring up the next generation of leaders. Once I figure out who I think the leaders are, I’ll have them do a lesson for the group, I’ll use them as my prayer warriors. I’ll ask them to reach out to the others in the group as a resource. I also want them to be a good example for others, that’s part of being a leader.
I want to mentor all of the students in my group, but I also know I need to recognize and build up the leaders as well.