by Gina Abbas
Spending time with small group leaders is a huge priority for those of us in ministry. I work full time and have three kids, so finding time to add SGLs into the rhythm of my week, my month, my year, is a challenge.
SGLs have lives too. They have families, school, jobs, and full schedules. How do you make time and create a rhythm for winning every week with SGLs when you barely have time to shower, and brewing a K-Cup is too much of a time commitment?
Here is how I create space in my life and increase my capacity for caring for small group leaders and SGL coaches.
- Thursday dinners. I don’t want to be out another night of the week. I don’t want my kids standing on the front porch waving bye to mom AGAIN. I bring leaders into the weekly rhythm of my family life. I throw extra into the slow cooker on a Thursday morning or I pick up an extra dessert and invite over an SGL or SGL coach every Thursday. My kids love it. My husband loves it. And my SGLs LOVE it. Because who doesn’t like home cooked food and extra dessert?
- Weekly check in with coaches. Maybe it’s a short conversation before or after programming. Maybe it’s a text, a card, or a quick phone call. I have a handful of small group coaches per ministry grade who help care for our SGLs. It’s not all on me.
- Monthly trainings. Through video attachments, a private Facebook group, little blurbs on social media, I pick a Lead Small principle to focus on each month. I use the content from my GoWeekly.com subscription to send great training pieces to my leaders. The GoWeekly subscription saves me a ton of time. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
- Quarterly SGL trainings. Instead of adding ANOTHER night of the week for leaders to attend a training, why not ask them to stay after ministry programs once a quarter for an SGL training? They are already there. Take advantage of it. Serve GREAT food. This is not the time for hot and ready $5 pizzas. Leaders look forward to these trainings every time because it means a yummy meal after group time.
- Annual Leader’s Retreat. Once a year we bring all of our SGLs together for a retreat weekend to kick off and train for the ministry year. We cover the cost of the entire weekend. Making SGLs a priority in your annual budget shows they are a priority in your ministry. We advertise the date WAY ahead of time and mention it as a not-to-be-missed opportunity in all of our SGL volunteer interviews. It’s become a much loved part of our volunteer culture.
- Work the Room. I arrive early on Sunday mornings every week and wander the church campus. With coffee in hand (and candy hidden in my purse for middle schoolers!), I roam the busy hallways and church sanctuary looking to say hello and connect with as many of my SGLs and Coaches as possible. And parents. And students. I am already there so why not win every week with a simple hello and “how’s your weekend so far?”
- Document an SGL care plan. It’s easy to overlook SGLs. Especially the quiet introverts. And the ones who don’t post questionable Facebook status updates. I create an Evernote notebook for each leader when they start serving and document the weekly, monthly, and annual interactions with my SGLs and Coaches. If I run out of creative ways to connect with volunteers or need conversation starters, I log into GoWeekly.com for connection ideas and coffee talk questions.
No matter how busy you are, I am confident you can find time within normal work and family routines to connect with SGLs. Add intentional volunteer care into the things you are probably already doing (like eating dinner on a Thursday night.)