Small groups are about forming disciples of Jesus. Maybe it’s less about what we are studying and more about following our living example.
He’s calling us to the same unity that he experiences with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Now that’s mind-boggling! Can we mere humans here on earth possibly be drawn into that kind of unity?
You know the feeling. You’re asked to step into a new role either in ministry or everyday life and you feel totally inadequate for the task. That’s how a potential small group leader felt last night when I suggested he lead a group for the first time.
I understand their fear. We haven’t had enough time together to know one another all that well. Most are new to this whole small group thing and relatively new in faith. Today I’m asking myself how I can gently lead them to feel comfortable praying out loud as a group. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far:
As a small group leader, I want to be more like my Garmin GPS than a map. I don’t want to merely be an information source. My role is to guide my group to the desired destination of life application.
It’s been said that once we stop learning, we stop leading. On-going leadership training is essential for the health of our groups and the people in them.
What did I learn on vacation? If I had quit climbing that mountain, I would have missed an awe-inspiring view of God’s wonderful creation. I don’t want to quit on my spiritual formation, either. There are times when it seems really tough and too difficult to keep-on-keeping-on
As I observe community life around me, I see that over time groups can tend to be more “exclusive” rather than “inclusive.” There seems to be a tendency to gradually build up walls around our group when deciding who fits and who doesn’t. Rather than reflecting Jesus’ inclusive love toward those around us, we find reasons to be exclusive.
Recruiting small group leaders is an on-going task of the Small Group Leadership Team. This resource provides suggestions on key traits to consider when recruiting small group leaders.
Consider these suggestions before you recruit small group leaders.
Given our busy, individualistic Western lifestyle, a once-a-week small group may be too much to ask of a lot of people, but obviously not all. Those who have a vision to experience community that transforms lives and cities are ready.
... today my small group world and work-out world collided when I saw a sign advertising “Small Group Personal Training.” For a very reasonable price we are offered the opportunity to get the benefits of a personal trainer in a small group setting. The sign promoted other benefits of these small groups:
Imagine this. You’ve been in an ongoing spiritual discussion with someone and are asked, “So what is the Gospel?” How would you answer? I had a pretty pat answer in mind until I spent time reflecting on the first four verses of Isaiah 61. This passage points out a bigger understanding of the Gospel than I’m used to thinking
Rather than evaluate the success of a small group by the percentage of a church’s people involved, I’m much more likely to ask questions about how people are demonstrating discipleship and mission in their lives. How are people growing in spiritual disciplines? How many are inviting friends to try out the group? How deep are the relationships within the group? How does the group care for one another and their neighbors?
The call of community isn’t about finding people just like us, at the exclusion of others. Community, in the biblical sense, is clearly about unlike people finding Christ at the center of their inclusive life together. Thus, issues of community reflect powerful dynamics of how God brings very diverse people together for his glory and his witness in the world.
If we want to develop ways of relating in groups that results in mission, then we as pastors must look at what we are emphasizing. Let me simply list five points.
These answers sound so obvious to those of us who have been around small groups for a while, but we should take note of them as we evaluate our groups.
Here we go! The Network discussion on small groups is making the transition from “discussion network” to “guided network”. Congratulations to us!
Recruiting small group leaders in a way that casts vision and presents leadership as a God-given opportunity will contribute to the health of a church's small group ministry. This tool gives suggestions on where to find potential leaders and how to go about recruiting them.
Developing a small group plan is essential as you begin your ministry, or as you revise it along the way. Here are three simple questions to help you get started.
This is a form from Small Group Leadership Planning Tools to gather information about the purpose and context of a small group.