An effective leader will organize the congregation’s small-group ministry so that Christian faith is nurtured, Christian community is built, and people of all ages are equipped for ministry as Christian disciples in daily life.
This leader will coordinate and implement the various small-group ministries of a congregation to ensure that all groups pay attention to study, fellowship, service, and commitment. Groups may include the church school, weekday groups, off-site groups, and specific programs such as Companions in Christ, Covenant Discipleship, and study groups that are designed to support the nurture and formation of Christian disciples.
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
- This leader benefits from having one or more of these spiritual gifts: servanthood, teaching, exhortation (encouragement), leadership, wisdom, faith, administration, helping, and shepherding.
- This leader should show evidence of passion for nurturing the Christian faith of others.
- Useful skills for this position are the ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages and the ability to connect individuals with others who are supportive and encouraging as they grow together in faith and discipleship.
- This leader should demonstrate interest and experience in Christian formation and skills for researching educational programs to meet needs in the community.
Responsibilities of the Position
- The small-group coordinator will work cooperatively with the education ministry team or nurture team and pastor to coordinate the implementation of opportunities through small groups for people in the congregation to grow and develop as disciples of Jesus Christ.
- The small-group coordinator will develop and carry out plans to promote attendance and participation in the church program for nurture and growth. Congregations may have various names for this program of nurture and Christian formation, such as small-group ministry, Sunday school, home groups, after school, and so on.
- The leader may build a team of people with gifts and skills for implementation of the church small groups, develop training programs for leaders of small groups, and promote small groups in the congregation.
- This leader will be familiar with curriculum resources in order to make recommendations for classes and groups of children, youth, and adults.
- This leader may recommend small-group leaders to the church education team.
- This leader is accountable to the charge conference through the church council.
- Learn about the education, spiritual formation, fellowship, and support needs of people in your congregation and in the community. Assess your current program and look for gaps that your congregation might fill with new or additional offerings.
- Talk with your pastor and others in the congregation to understand their hopes and dreams for the congregation through small-group ministry.
- Soon after you are elected, meet with the education ministry team and others to plan your work. Share the ministry with others by delegating projects to people in the church or community who have passion for forming and supporting groups that concentrate on learning, fellowship, support, accountability, and service to the community and world.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor and laypeople in your congregation who are interested in small-group and nurture ministries; people who live in your community.
- Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources; toll free, 1-877-899-2780 ; email, [email protected].
- InfoServ, the information service for the church, provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: [email protected]; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
Web and Print Resources
- Accountable Discipleship: Living in God’s Household by Steven W. Manskar (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2000)
- The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016 (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2016)
- The Caring Congregation by Karen Lampe (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2014)
- Charting a Course of Discipleship: A Workbook in Discipleship by Teresa Gilbert, Patty Johansen, Jay Regennitter; revised by Delia Halverson (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2012)
- Christians Engaged in Faith Formation (CEF), www.cefumc.org, a national for leaders in Christian education and formation.
- Companions in Christ, http://companions.upperroom.org
- Creating Community: Five Keys to Building a Small Group Culture by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits (Multnomah, 2004)
- Disciples Making Disciples: A Guide for Covenant Discipleship Groups and Class Leaders by Steven W. Manskar (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2016)
- Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Christian Education (Cokesbury, 2016)
- Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Small Group Ministries (Cokesbury, 2016)
- Interpreter, www.interpretermagazine.org
- Keeping in Touch: Christian Formation and Teaching by Carol F. Krau (Discipleship Resources, 2014)
- Safe Sanctuaries®, www.umcdiscipleship.org/safesanctuaries
- What Every Leader Needs to Know (Upper Room Books) – Small booklets useful for individual study or as an outline for a one-hour workshop.