by Dwayne McCrary
If you have led any kind of Bible study group, you are familiar with the stress that comes with it. As soon as the group time is over, another one sits in the future awaiting your attention. Responding to individual’s questions that come from the group time just adds to the stress all the more. And it always seems that some crisis at work happens right before a group meeting. Here are a few things we can do to address the stress of leading a group.
- Prepare. This may be a shock, but winging it only adds to the stress. We may buy into the “I want the Holy Spirit to be free to work in the group time” excuse, pretending that our failure to prepare is somehow more spiritual. The truth is the Holy Spirit is at work outside the group time just as much as He is during it. Sharpened axes tend to be the most effective.
- Start Early. It is one thing to prepare, it is another thing to prepare on your way to the group meeting. The urgent adds stress and gets in the way of us doing our best. The moment the previous group time concludes, we can start our preparation for the next group time. This gives us time to think about the group time and put together a great experience.
- Delegate. We can’t do everything and we shouldn’t. The more we take on, the more we cheat someone in the group of using their giftedness within the group. Delegation is a subset of starting early; asking a person to volunteer the day of the group time is unfair.
- Use a Plan. Half of the stress of leading a group is deciding what will be studied and when. Rely on your church leaders and other experts like LifeWay to create a well thought out study plan for your group. Adapt as needed, but having some plan to adapt removes the pressure of deciding on your own.
- Get feedback and act on it. Ask someone you trust in the group to evaluate the group time. Look for constructive actions you may need to take to improve as a leader. This is not about being perfect, but about being better.
- Remember you are not alone. Nothing adds to our stress more than feeling like we are on out on the limb will all eyes on us.The Holy Spirit is present in our preparation, present in the lives of the believers in our group, and stands with us during the group time. God shows up when His truth is examined and we are in partnership with Him.