Gardener Required: Creating Environments for Growth

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Gardens. They are beautiful spots to take some time to “stop and smell the roses.” Who doesn’t enjoy the vibrant colors and fragrances of a flower garden? Whose mouth doesn’t begin to water at the site of juicy ripe tomatoes or watermelon? It all looks so easy. Just dig a little hole, plop in a seedling and watch it grow, right? Wrong! An amateur gardener soon learns that developing and maintaining a beautiful garden takes time and constant attention. There are times to water, times to fertilize, times to prune, times to weed, times to divide and times to admit that there are just some plants that don’t thrive in certain soil conditions. Without the proper care, a garden soon becomes an unmanageable or unproductive mess.

So it is with small group ministries. It seems easy to get started. All you need to do is find a few leaders, select a popular curriculum and invite people to join a group. That can work for a while, but in most cases the ministry will become an unmanageable or unproductive mess. Small Group Ministries are like gardens, they need a “gardener” to provide on-going care and attention.

A Small Group Leadership Team acts as a “gardener” to the small group ministry. Some churches have a volunteer team in place, others have a paid staff person. The team is responsible to the leadership of the church and plays an important role in supporting the overall vision of the church. Often a team between two to five people works best.

The Small Group Leadership Teams acts as “gardener” by filling the following essential roles:

Role 1: Prayer – A Small Group Leadership Team makes prayer for groups and the small group ministry a priority.

Role 2: Vision – The Small Group Leadership Team develops and casts the vision for the small group ministry that supports the larger vision and strategy of the church.

Role 3: Plan - The Small Group Leadership Team prepares and implements the plan according to the small group vision.

Role 4: Recruit – The Small Group Leadership Team recruits and develops small group leaders.

Role 5: Train and Support – The Small Group Leadership Team provides introductory and on-going training and support for small group leaders.

Role 6: Connect – The Small Group Leadership Team will play a key role in connecting people to groups. They promote small group initiatives and help leaders fill groups.

Role 7: Collect Data – The Small Group Leadership Team, in relationship with group leaders, gathers necessary information in order to grow and maintain a healthy small group ministry. This information includes things such as names of group members, how often the group meets, what the group is doing together, questions the leader may have, etc.

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