Give them the Tools they Need!

Today would like to hit on one aspect of the small group coach-leader relationship: equipping. If you are a small group coach you probably know building a relationship with your leaders is super important but you don’t necessarily want to get stuck there. Pastor Bill Donahue from Willow Creek makes this point when he says that “It is easy to make the mistake of turning the coach-leader relationship into nothing more than a deep friendship.” I definitely agree with him. Because it is so easy to do that we need to maintain a healthy balance between shepherding and equipping.

Equipping can be a hard thing. In fact thinking about equipping can be a bit intimidating. After all its not like we are small group experts. Nor do we have access to unlimited resources. Often times it’s hard enough to find where to start the equipping process. So today would like to offer you a few ideas about tools you can use to equip your leaders.

  • Your Past Experiences: If you are reading this you probably have been doing small groups for quite some time now. Thus you probably have a lot of stories of small groups that went really well and of small groups that didn’t go so well. Also you know what worked and didn’t work in those small groups. So I would begin by having your leaders think through what is working and what isn’t working in their own small group. Then I would relate that to your own experiences. In addition to that, you have probably experienced a lot of the situations that your leaders are going through in their own small group. Whether it is someone breaking up in the small group, a fight with parents, or some sort of addiction; you have probably encountered it, thus you can speak wisdom out of your own experience with that issue.
  • Wisdom from Other Leaders: Hopefully you have a bunch of wise leaders around you. Whether it is the other coaches or a pastor, or even other small group leaders; there is always something to gain from others. As you work to cultivate community within the leadership, you will begin to be encouraged by what is going on in the other groups. Also you will learn from the other leaders’ experiences. In addition to learning from the experiences of other leaders don’t be afraid to ask your director or pastor about any specific issue that might come up.
  • Books or Articles: Personally this is my favorite way to resource. I love reading. And by love I mean LOOOOOVE!  I know reading isn’t for everyone, therefore giving people articles to read won’t always work, however as you read books and articles you will gain wisdom from that author and you will be able to impart that wisdom to your leader. If you are looking for a book/article on a specific topic feel free to ask me, I will do my best to look it up for you.


  • What other sorts of tools have you turned to in order to equip the people that you lead?

Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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