When you read the title of this post, you probably thought to yourself, “…I feel guilty.” You’re not alone. On annual basis I will lead 40 or more training events for full-time and part-time church pastors and small group leaders. In many of my sessions, I ask this question: “How many of you struggle to spend time with God daily?” And, in almost every instance, at least 70% of those in attendance gingerly raise their hands above their guilty heads.
The plague of devotional apathy must be wiped out. Why? Because it’s deeply affecting the group you lead. There are at least three outcomes to spending time daily with God:
- Spiritual growth
- Biblical understanding
- Hearing the still small voice of the Holy Spirit as He gives guidance
Small group leaders: when we overlook, rationalize the need for, or ignore this important discipline, we lack three things that are essential to great leadership:
- Becoming a mature follower of Jesus Christ. We can’t lead our group properly if we aren’t mature enough to lead our group members to their own optimal spiritual maturity.
- Biblical understanding. This must be instilled in our minds and hearts so that we can give wise counsel to the group members under our watchcare.
- The guidance of the Holy Spirit. We must be in tune to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who knows the present and future situations our group members will find themselves in.
I beg you: set aside 30 minutes each day to read and study God’s Word, pray for God’s guidance, and listen for His voice. You will reap the benefits in the growth of your leadership abilities.
Rick Howerton is the Small Groups and Discipleship Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. He has authored many small group studies, is a highly sought-after trainer and speaker, and is the author of Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual as well as A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic. He is also the co-author of Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making and Countdown: Launching and Leading Transformational Groups. But Rick’s deepest passion and his goal in life is to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.”