Give Your Small Group Leaders What Matters for Christmas

By Steve Gladen
Tree

image credit: Travis Silva, CreationSwap

If you are like so many people across the world, you are thinking through what is it is you can give the people you love and care for at Christmas? Partly it is because of tradition, but what the Christmas season does in so many of us is make us think about how we want to show we appreciate them.

I heard an 8 year old say to her mom, “I would rather be ‘poor’ and live in a small house so that I could just have more time with you this Christmas!” Wow, what a powerful statement! (Actually it caused me to think, “What would my kids say?” But then I woke up and realized that my kids still want the gifts! (just kidding)) In a zone when we let a budget drive the type of “gifts” we give, maybe we should recalibrate our thinking to those we appreciate around us and re-think the term “gift” this season.

Jesus discipled and valued the twelve disciples relationally. So it comes as no surprise the number one way to appreciate your leaders just might be relationally.

The big question is how we can best show that. Here are a few things I have done.

Giving your leaders what matters

  • When I was in smaller churches I would take people out for a coffee. My “power” leaders, those who I wanted to take to the next step, I would slot for a breakfast, lunch or dinner. But each one I would give a letter of appreciation and vision cast around the impact they are having on eternity.
  • If you find yourself saying, it would take me too long to write a note of appreciation to each leader, then you may need to wake up and realize that you are caring for too many leaders! The depth of your infrastructure will always determine the width of your small group ministry. For more on this see chapter 14 of Small Groups With Purpose.
  • If, due to finances and/or sheer numbers, won’t work, consider hosting a dinner at your house. That can be a huge win! What I found to work and be fun is have everyone bring the raw, uncooked ingredients and have everyone prepare the meal together. It may sound scary,  but it works, just trust me! Write a note for each leader/volunteer, appreciating them, and spend dessert going around the tables appreciating each person!
  • Sheer numbers still an issue? Welcome to my pain! We encourage our small group pastors to do the above through their Community Leaders (coaches). We also host a Small Group Host Gathering to show appreciation, vision cast and recruit. Let others help shoulder the relational burden with you.

My prayer is that this helps you this season to help get “perspective.”

What else have you done, or are you planning to do, to relationally appreciate your leaders?

Steve Gladen

Steve Gladen is Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church, which sees over 30,000 people gathering weekly in 5,000 small groups. He's the founder of SmallGroups.net and travels widely to speak on the topic of small groups and healthy, biblical community. He is the author of several books including Small Groups With Purpose and Leading Small Groups With Purpose.