Reggie Joiner/Tom Shefchunas. Lead Small. Cumming: reThink Group Inc, 2012.

Overview of Lead Small

This book deals with leading small groups for Youth and Children. The premise is that most people dream of doing big things, but in reality the best strategy is to invest in a small group of people. The five chapters of the book deal with one aspect of leading a small group of people to affect big changes. The first thing to do (chapter 1) is to be present. The leader needs to connect the people they lead to a community of people who will build up their faith. They write, “When you show up on a regular basis – physically and mentally – you are well on the way to connecting your students to a community of believers that will encourage authentic faith” (31). The second step is to create a safe place, so that you can clarify their faith as they grow. They write, “For the most part, young children simply trust you because you are older. And trust is important if you are going to help your few clarify their faith” (52). Trust is built when we create a safe place for the group to share. Step three is to partner with their parents to nurture an everyday faith. They write, “even if the parent isn’t a believer, they are still the parent” (100). If the leader can do this, they can make a more meaningful impact in the lives of their few. Step four is to make it personal. Leaders should inspire faith by their own example. One principle they mention is that the leader should be consistent. Kids especially can smell fake a mile away. To inspire an authentic faith – the leader needs their own authentic faith. Step five is to move them out, to engage their faith in a bigger story. Leaders need to decide when the followers are ready to take on leadership, and encourage them to take on a challenge. Leaders also need to recognize when it is time to move the follower on to another leader who can teach them something else.

Evaluation of Lead Small

The book represents an intriguing idea. The main point seems to be that programs and systems won’t develop disciple leaders, the organizational culture will do that. For Greenwood in particular I think this book is an encouragement to keep doing what we have begun to do. I’ve got to think less about programming a system to develop people, and more about people. Leading a small group of people well will actually yield huge results over a period of time even if it doesn’t appear to make a huge difference immediately. One strength and weakness of this book is that it is extremely brief. You will not find a manual for addressing problems or a plan to implement here. But, because of that the book is easy to read and most busy leaders could finish it over a few nights of reading before bed. After reflecting on this book, I think I’ll try and recommend it to our future children’s minister as a help in developing their volunteers. I will also try and implement some of these principles in my own dealing with small group leaders. I’ve got to be more intentional about leading them well so that they can lead their groups well.

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