Small Group Leadership Essentials with Carolyn Taketa

Q Do you need some encouragement, fresh strategies and practical advice as a small group point person? If your answer is “Yes,” then you’ve come to the right place!

Carolyn Taketa is the Executive Director of Small Groups at Calvary Community Church in West Lake Village, CA. She is the author for such publishers as “Christianity Today” and Host of the Small Group Network’s “Group Talk” Podcast. In this month’s video interview, I ask Carolyn the following questions in this exciting interview…

  • What is one challenge that you face as a small group point person and how do you go about addressing it?
  • What small group model do you employ at your church, what do you like about it and how does it work?
  • When it comes to coaching small group leaders, what is one piece of practical advice you would offer?
  • When it comes to actually hosting a small group, what is your number one piece of advice for hosts?
  • What is one or more books on leadership or small groups that you would recommend?
  • What is one reason you would give for why people should attend“The Lobby” gathering in SoCal March 2017?

9 Keys to Creating a Culture that Values Vision


According to a survey of leadership readers, communicating vision is one of the most frustrating parts of leading a local church. One response to the open-ended question, “What is the greatest single problem you face in training your lay leaders?” was, “Teaching Christians the vision of a Christ-like life.”

One fact is true: Leaders who effectively communicate goals to their followers achieve far beyond those who don’t! Here are 9 keys to create a culture that values of vision!

1. VALUABLE VISION Starts from Within

  • If you want to know the temperature of your church, put a thermometer in your mouth.
  • You can never take people farther than you have been yourself – Rick Warren

2. VALUABLE VISION Builds on the Past

  • It builds on the leader’s past and on the people’s past. The most effective vision draws upon enduring themes to make us feel more confident about stepping out in new directions.

3. VALUABLE VISION Speaks to the People’s Needs

  • When you deal with people’s basic needs, you are always needed.

4. VALUABLE VISION Challenges People to Act

  • “The first thing you do is teach the person to feel that the vision is very important and nearly impossible. This draws out the drive in winners.” – Edwin Land (Founder of Polaroid)

5. VALUABLE VISION Solves Problems

  • Problems are unsolved, not because they are so big, but because our visions is so small. Obstacles are the thing you see when you take your eye off the goal.

6. VALUABLE VISION Provides Guidance

  • Direction for an organization cannot be given in rules & regulations, policy manuals and organizational charts.

7. VALUABLE VISION Attracts Winners

  • Winners stretch to the vision, but winers shrink to the vision.
  • Do big things – attract big people. Do little things – attract little people and in turn attract big problems.

8. VALUABLE VISION Unites People

  • There are divisions and differences among people in any community. However, people will come together when the vision to unite is greater than the decision to go their own way. Vision is the vehicle on which change rides.


  • Only he who sees the invisible can do the impossible.
  • “Every great work and every great person, came under the influence of a vision that changed them and therefore changed others.” – Leadership magazine, Winter 1983

MarkyMark Zweifel holds a Master of Divinity, is the former Student Ministries Director of the Alaska Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God and is the Lead Pastor of Fairbanks First Assembly

For inspiration regarding all things leadership & ministry, follow Mark on twitter at markzweifel

Top 7 Vertical Leader Interviews of 2015


Get equipped & inspired by watching our top 7 leadership interviews of 2015! All of these leaders are what we call “Vertical Leaders.” Leaders who dream big, never settle, take risks, continue learning, serve humbly, lead boldly, love passionately, live with integrity & desire to change a generation!

(In alphabetical order)

Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason is the Small Groups Pastor at Real Life Church in Sacramento & the founder of where he coaches, equips & resources pastors, leaders & churches around the nation regarding all things small groups! Possessing a wealth of knowledge, Andrew touches on several small group topics!

Growing Big Through Small Groups: Andrew Mason on Relationally Reaching the Postmodern Culture

Cole Zick

Serving as Student Ministries Director at Capitol Christian Center in Sacramento, as well as founder of My City Conference, Cole Zick is a leading voice of awakening to this generation!

My City 2015: Cole Zick on How Unity Sparks Revival

Dean Deguara

Serving as Director of Leadership Development at Jesus Culture in Sacramento, as well as founder of the leadership blog “,” Dean possesses a wealth of wisdom & experience regarding all things faith, ministry & leadership! Check out my interview with him below!

“Dean Deguara” on Learning to Unlearn & Embracing the Unknown

Eddie De La Rosa

Eddie is the Assemblies of God Northern California & Nevada Student Ministries Director in Sacramento where he coaches, equips & resources youth pastors & emerging leaders regarding all things student ministry!

Fearless Faith: Eddie De La Rosa on Family, Youth Ministry & Leading like Jesus

Jarrod McEachron

Serving as Student Ministries Director at Harvest Church in Elk Grove California, Jarrod McEachron is a dynamic leader who possesses a wealth of wisdom regarding youth ministry & is a leading voice of awakening to this generation!

Spitting Out the Pacifier & the Ingredients Needed to Spark Awakening

Terry Parkman

Terry Parkman is a leading voice of awakening to the emerging generation & serves as the Lead Youth Pastor of River Valley Church in Minneapolis, MN where he oversees youth ministry across seven different campuses! In this interview, Terry shares a wealth of valuable wisdom on how to effectively engage the emerging generation with the gospel!

Engaging the Emerging Generation: “Terry Parkman” on Sexuality, Influence & the Missional Call

Tyler Sollie

The former District Youth Director of the Northwest Ministry Network, Tyler Sollie now serves as the Lead Pastor of Life Center Baker in Tacoma, WA. A leader of leaders, Tyler shares a wealth of valuable wisdom on topics ranging from the power of identity, navigating through transition, honoring authority & all things leadership!

BE YOU! Tyler Sollie on Identity, Transition, Honor & Leadership


3 Leadership Lessons Alaska Has Taught Me About Life & Ministry

#1 Embrace the Adventure!IMG_8818 My new license plate has a short slogan near the bottom that reads “The Last Frontier,” which has become the states most popular nickname! Home to places like Denali National Park, Mt McKinley & Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska is synonymous with the word “Adventure” & draws travelers from all over the world to hike, hunt & journey on the adventure of a lifetime! Alaska has reminded me to embrace the adventure that is serving the Lord! God often calls us at inconvenient times, to leave safety & familiarity & travel off the map into uncharted territory to reach the people he died to save! IMG_8813

#2 Adaptability is Essential! Alaska is a land of extremes – extreme geography, extreme animals & extreme weather! We get about 3 hours of sunlight each day in December with temps that can dip 50 degrees below zero! After moving up from Cali in the dead of winter, I quickly realized that my dress code needed to adapt if I was to survive the winter! Another nickname for Alaska is the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” due to the 22 hours of sunlight per day & temps that can exceed 80 degrees in the summer! The interior region is dry & arid, so much so that it recently cracked my Taylor acoustic right down the middle (Sob)! I swiftly learned to begin using a humidifier when storing my guitar if I want to keep playing it! To survive & thrive here, people must be able to adapt to the conditions! As it is in the natural, so it often is in the supernatural! To be effective in life & ministry for the long haul & to make the greatest impact possible, leaders must be able to adapt to new people, places, cultures & seasons! This often means letting go of old ways & learning to do new things! Great leaders can adapt!

#3 Relationships Are Everything!Bigbullmoose Due to it’s extreme climate & isolation from the rest of “The Lower 48” as they say, Alaska is a place where people need each other & where relationships are highly valued. If it’s below zero & you see someone hitch-hiking on the road, there is an un-written rule that you stop & pick that person up! Because of the long, cold & dark winters that limit travel, people spend much more time together indoors playing games, conversing & sharing life! In our first two months of living here, we received more dinner invites than we did living two years in California! That time spent together has greatly helped us to connect & bond with these people & families of our church in ways that we would never been able to otherwise! Ministry can be relentless with endless messages to prepare, teams to build, vision to cast, events to plan & admin to conquer, but at the end of the day the most important aspect of ministry above all else is loving people! Most people spell love as – T.I.M.E. In life & even more so in ministry, the quality time you spend with someone is the most productive & powerful thing you can do!