Michael Mack is the founder of www.smallgroups.com and has been a long term player in the small group game.
Michal Mack has given us one of the most helpful and practical books on how to organize a small group ministry so your leaders won’t burn out. In this book he demonstrates how to team shepherd rather than lead a small group. His use of a core group of three to form a shepherding team is one of the most powerful suggestions I’ve seen to date on organizing small group leadership.
Mack suggests that instead of the leader shepherding a group of ten to twelve people, the small group leader shepherd three people to become the leadership team that will shepherd the rest of the group. This assures that no one burns out and leadership is a team effort.
Mack uses Jesus as the example. He focused on Peter, James, and John rather than the twelve. They were his core group. Mack doesn’t believe anyone can effectively disciple twelve people at a time.
Instead of the typical leadership/apprentice model Mack suggests shepherding three leaders. Another way to look at this is to say the role of the small group leader is to raise up three apprentices who become the leadership team for the small group. This is a great model for reducing the stress of small group leadership as well as for raising up more future small group leaders.
And you can read the book in less than an hour!