In his book, Planning Small Groups with Purpose, Steve Gladen says one of the roles of the Small Group Point Person is to
“Keep encouraging your entire leadership team to model maturity and continued growth.”
One of the ways Small Group Point People encourage growth is through training events for Small Group Leaders. However, for many of us, it is a struggle to get leaders to show up to our training.
Why is that? Most Small Group Leaders want to grow spiritually. So, why don’t they attend the training?
The reason most leaders give when they miss your training is scheduling conflicts, however, I do not think that is the real reason. The more likely reason is that your training is boring. And the Small Group Leaders do not find value in attending the training.
So, how do you make sure your training isn’t boring?
One quick method to evaluate your training is to ask “How many leaders say “Thank You” after a training event?” This helps identify if you are adding value to their lives and their leadership. Here are three concepts to help make sure that Small Group Leaders say “Thank You” after your next training event.
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- Identify the WIIFM and keep it front and center. The WIIFM stands for “What’s In It For Me?” Adults only retain knowledge that is clearly related to their life and experience. When you are building your training you need to clearly identify and spell out what this training will do to help your Small Group Leaders. For example, you could do training on group dynamics. Or you could do training to help Small Group Leaders identify the difference between healthy conflict and unhealthy conflict and reduce the “drama” level in their groups. Which one clearly identifies the WIIFM?
- Be the guide not the pilot. If you are taking a trip on a commercial airline, you sit down, fasten your seat belt and then what is your job? Sit back and enjoy the flight. It is the pilot’s job to know how to fly, to follow the route, to land safely. On the other hand, imagine you are taking a trip down a river on a guided white-water rafting expedition. Your guide may ask, “Which side of the rapids do you want to go down? The easy or hard side?” Your guide may tell you, “Stay to the right at this fork, the left does not lead to where we want to go.” But at the end of the trip, you will have done all the rowing. When creating your next training remember you are the guide, not the pilot. Let your attendees do as much of the rowing as possible.
- Experience is greater than information. The easiest way to create training is to stand up in front of the group and lecture. However, studies show that just one hour after training people forget about 50% of what they learned in this style of training. And retention only gets worse after that. That is not good news for preachers. However, if attendees practice doing what is being taught, retention goes up to 75%. For your next training build some role play experiences into the event. For example, have some of your leaders practice dealing with healthy and unhealthy conflict. And then evaluate their experience with the group.
By identifying the WIIFM, remembering you are the guide, and creating experiences, your next training event will be interesting and relevant. And hopefully, your Small Group Leaders will thank you for helping them lead better.