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February 21, 2011

Help: Group Leader Celebrations

What are some ways to celebrate a job well done?


Here's a question that recently popped up on our growing Facebook page:

Our church would like to do an appreciation event for our small group leaders - and include a learning opportunity within the program. Has anyone done a similar type of event? Any ideas/suggestions you'd be willing to share?

So, anyone have any ideas? Let's pitch in and help out a fellow groups-lover in need of some inspiration.

You can post in the Comments section below, or respond to the original Facebook comment from Nicole.

posted by Sam O'Neal on February 21, 2011 4:07 PM

Related Tags: Help, Ideas


One of the first things I thought of when I saw your question was: Is it necessary to add a "learning opportunity" to this event? There is nothing wrong with celebrating a job well done, and group leaders certainly deserve a good party every now and then.

One thing I have done at our small group leader celebrations (which I hold at the end of the "year" - May/June) is talk about something I saw in each group that the leader was doing well and also mention any big breakthroughs that happened in the group. Obviously, this requires that I have visited the groups at least once, and that I am connecting with the leaders regularly to get a feel for what's happening in their groups. Secondly, this cannot break the confidentiality of the group, so sometimes sharing breakthroughs is somewhat generic ("One of the participants in Kim's groups was struggling with some financial issues this spring, and her group pitched in to support and show their love. I know this had a huge impact on the person.") One thing I love to highlight is how the leaders are taking the study and putting their own spin on it (because all our groups do the same study at the same time). This year I shared about how one leader handled an overly large group by breaking up into trios for prayer time and also allowed periodic whole group "check-in" times to allow the participants to feel connected. Another leader gave creative application-type homework that really helped her participants. Another leader implemented some great strategies for handling a participant who tends to dominate. Another leader dedicated herself to preparing extra verses/true life stories/music that went with the prepared study.

At one year's celebration, I invited group participants to share with their leaders what they appreciated about him/her. Some did this by e-mailing me. Others did this in person. When I was a leader several years ago, our coach put on a dessert night towards the end of the study and invited all our group members (he actually sent them invitations with details about the night). At the dessert night, they were asked to share aloud what they appreciated about the leaders. While it put me a little on the spot, I deeply appreciated to hear what my prayer, work, and effort was doing to impact their lives. It was also meaningful because it was in front of other groups and leaders.

Lastly, I'm a gifts person, and I love to pick out a small, meaningful gift for each of my leaders. I try to listen to them during the year and hear what would be a great gift for them.

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