WHY and WHAT in Sections

Healthy teams. If you’ve been around “Section World” for any length of time, you’ve likely heard us use those words on more than one occasion. As we’ve been observing 28 different sections over the last two years, we’ve noticed one very important factor common to successful sections and that one factor is TEAM.

As a leader in a Section, you CAN’T lead your section alone. What does that look like practically? During any given Sunday, one person is likely to be able to interact with three different people — one before, one during, and one after the service. With most Sections having seating for 250 people, one person isn’t very effective at connecting with that many people. Over the span of one year, you still would only be able to connect with 150 of those individuals.. Leaders need a team of people to help in connecting with those within their Sections.

As leaders attempting to connect, care, and invite each week, we need others to join us. Ultimately, having a team of 20 people with the same goal of connecting, caring, and inviting will be able to reach 60 people on a given Sunday rather than 3, and at the end of the year, we could have collectively engaged in 3,000 conversations.  The need for a team doesn’t end there. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 indicates that every part of the body is important. Each of us bring our own unique gift, and we need each other to complete the body. We can’t be healthy as individuals in completing the task before us. It requires a team effort to be healthy and accomplish what God has called us to do in Sections.

This sounds wonderful, but how do we practically build these healthy teams. As Section Leaders leading a team of volunteers, there are a couple of things that I think will help.

Explain Your Why

Why do we do Sections at New Life? How does it fit in the larger picture? What is the goal? If the answer is to host a monthly Section Party, we’re missing the true heart beat behind what we’re trying to accomplish. We believe that Sections are helping people to find their place in our family; we believe that Sections will help to make New Life feel like the smallest big church people have attended. Sections help to connect people. Our belief is that this is the next step for them in growing in their walk with Christ, but we hope it doesn’t end there. We believe that deeper discipleship happens in the context of smaller groups. All of this is the WHY behind Sections.

I need to constantly be reminded of this. I’m sure you probably need to be reminded as well. If you and I need to be reminded of “the why” behind this, I have to believe that the others that we lead need to be regularly reminded of this fact as well. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” We need to be minded so that we can run with the vision that God has given us. (This spring we met with all of our Section Leaders sharing the vision behind Section Community along with some practical pieces of leading your Section. If you want to see a recorded version of this you can check that out HERE.)

Be Clear About Their Role

I’ll be honest. I sometimes have asked people to take on a role of leadership without clearly explaining what that role looked like. I just heard our Community Admin, Becca, share this week that they started as Section Leaders and didn’t know what they were doing. As the person that recruited them, that was my fault. I shared the vision behind Sections and the WHY behind it. In the end, I sold them on it. However, I didn’t do nearly as good of a job of explaining what their role looked like.

Thank goodness they are good friends and were gracious enough to stick with it even though I failed. However, everyone isn’t quite as gracious. We can do the most amazing job of sharing the WHY of our vision so that people want to participate. But at the end of the day, we all want to know what is expected of us. We want to do a good job. However, if we don’t know what a “good job” looks like, we will likely become frustrated and turn in our letter of resignation. (Recently, we’ve revisited our role descriptions for both our Section Leaders and our Section Hosts. We’ve even simplified the host role description to make it clearer. You can find those role descriptions HERE.)

As you’re asking people to serve alongside you, make sure you are very clear on what you’re asking them to do. If you need them to be early each week to greet people, make sure you’re clear about that. If you want them to schedule communion for your section, state that. I know that over the years I’ve often been a bit fearful to be very specific with people thinking that I may scare them off. In the long run, I lose them anyway because I wasn’t clear. Be very specific and very clear about what you’re asking them to do.

So, as you’re recruiting your Section team, make sure you’re communicating two things: (1) The Why behind what we’re doing, (2) Clearly what role you’re asking them to play in this story. After you’ve done this, make sure you keep reminding them. When the work gets more challenging, we all need to be reminded what we’re doing and why we are doing it.


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