I wrote a few weeks ago about Gateway’s leadership process. Coming into this new role at a new church, I had to get my hands around who were leaders and who wasn’t. I had people who had been through the leadership process and were considered leaders… but they weren’t technically leading anyone. On the other side, I had some people who were leading people but had not been through the leadership process and were not considered leaders. Confusing, hug? Essentially, I’ve had to start over and evaluate my “leaders” one person at a time, find out what they are or are not leading and set them on the right track.

The largest amount of my energy though has been focused on raising up small group leaders for the fall. The elementary program at Gateway has not been “relational” in practice. So we’re launching about 31 small groups. This will link every 10-12 kids with on adult each weekend. I’m expecting big things this fall as a result to moving to this paradigm. However, the process has been eating my lunch.

  • So, first of all I have to recruit. I’ve been getting the word out in about a hundred different ways. Our efforts have paid off as I have recruited more small group leaders than I need (oh, but I’m not done).
  • Second we send them the paperwork to fill out which includes a criminal background check, a Kids Quest volunteer application and a leadership info form (Since my small group leaders are essentially shepherding a group of kids, I’m requiring them to go through the leadership process). The background check and the application can be filled out in a few minutes, but the leadership form takes most people anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes to fill out (it probably took me two hours).
  • Third I interview them. This is typically a 45 to 60 minute interview where I walk through their answers to the leadership info form as well as an interview form that I use (remember, this is a standardized process that all leaders go through here at Gateway, so I document the interview and it goes in their file. If they move out of kids and plug in somewhere else, the leadership process doesn’t necessarily have to be repeated). The leadership process is pretty intense. We ask questions like:

How long have you been a Christ follower? Define in your own words salvation by grace. Explain what spiritual practices you have in your life in order to grow as a Christian. What does your marriage look like (is it strong an growing)? If single, are you pursuing sexual abstinence and purity until marriage? Are you able to make this kind of commitment? Are there any issues in your life that would reflect poorly on you or Gateway if they came to light?

This is only part A of our leadership info form. Part B goes into leadership experience and issues. At this time, I’m just taking all my candidates through Part A and establishing them as “emerging leaders.” As they continue to grow, I’ll continue the process with them by leading them through part B of the application and interview as well as have them fill out our ministry covenant.

So, throughout this process I’ve actually had to turn some small group leaders away. We’ve plugged them into other areas of service where they would not be directly shepherding kids. It’s been a long and complicated process, but I’ve gotten to know my new small group leaders so much better and I trust that they are solid. Today I’m scheduled to be conducting phone interviews for about 5 hours. I spent 4 hours on the phone on Monday and have another 4-5 hours scheduled for Thursday.

Does your ministry have a pipeline? Does it look the same for every volunteer role, or are some more rigorous?