There’s a dirty little secret to leading small groups for kids. It’s a weakness. A limitation. A barrier that your groups will experience in time. Even if you don’t see it, it’s always there. Others will definitely see it, they just might not say anything because they’re “polite.” Regardless, this issue will limit your success and growth. The sooner you deal with it, the better. Are you ready for this?

Your biggest limitation to a ministry of healthy, thriving and life-giving small groups is… YOU!

I get it. There’s always a “season.” You’re launching groups and it’s going to require you to run point on all the groups. Fine. Maybe you’re leading a transition which requires more involvement than normal. Okay.

But what’s your exit plan?

The longer you try to lead all your small group leaders, the longer you are holding your ministry back.

Think about it for a second. Your goal is for every kid to be in a small group, right? You’re striving to make sure that each group only has 8-12 kids, right? Because you know that this is the ideal environment for success. Relationships can thrive. Leaders can handle 8-12 kids without feeling totally overwhelmed.

The same is true of you. 8-12 leaders are all you can really handle.

Okay, let’s bump that to 15-16. You are a professional. This is what you love and wake up every morning thinking about. I’ll give you that. But wait a second. This probably isn’t your only job. You’ve got other things to take care of. If you’re like me, you have a lot of things on your plate. Why take on the weight of leading 15-16 (or even 8-12) small group leaders if you don’t have to?

So, whether you have a total of 4 small groups, 40 small groups or 400 small groups, you need some help. You need a layer of leadership between you and your small group leaders. You need someone who can dedicate 100% of their energy and passion toward taking care of people who are leading kids in groups. It’s really simple. You can lead 8-12 small group leaders. But even if you just had 4-6 coaches/team leaders, you could immediately lead 50-60 small group leaders without even breaking a sweat.

Let me share a few reasons why enlisting coaches will help your small group ministry thrive:


It’s possible that you recruited all your small group leaders. They’re there because of you. There’s possibly a relational connection there. Over the years, I’ve found that one of the biggest reasons why small group leader continue to serve where they serve has more to do with relationships than anything else. Even more than purpose or mission. Having a coach gives them at least one additional person to connect with. Also, that coach can create a smaller tribe of small group leaders that is highly relational, something you can’t do well when leading all the small group leaders. The better this community is, the longer your leaders will serve.


Every week, someone isn’t going to show up (hopefully they called ahead). Every week, there’s going to be an issue with a child. Every week, there’s going to be a glitch with the curriculum, supplies or some other minor detail. Every week, there is a parent who needs to talk to you about their child. Every week, there are 100 things to attend to. The secret is that 90% of these things really don’t really need you. They just need the attention of someone who has the knowledge and authority to do something about it. Someone like a coach. Once you have coaches in place, you’ll find that you have WAY more time for strategic things. You’ll find yourself working ON your ministry rather than IN your ministry.


I remember this stupid thing I used to always say. “I wish I could clone myself and have 5 more of me on a Sunday.” Maybe you’ve said something like this too. Let’s be real honest. The last thing we need is another one of us. The reason we say silly things like this is because we’re trying to do too much. We say silly things like this because we’re neglecting our responsibility to truly lead, delegating authority and responsibility to capable people. There’s something far better than a small army of you-clones. A small army of people who see things differently and process things differently that are 100% on board with your leadership. Leadership can be a lonely role unless you surround yourself with people who will help you lead.

Too many leaders neglect to expand their leadership. They want to control their environments. They don’t trust enough or provide opportunities for people to step into something bigger. You may be amazing… you probably are. Regardless of your awesomeness, you will be your greatest limitation. Take steps to step aside and make room for another voice… even if you think you ministry isn’t big enough yet. You will NEVER regret delegating authority and responsibility to a faitful leader.