by Tyler Quillet
“I’ll host a group, but I just want to ask questions. I don’t think I’m capable of giving much more than that.”
That was the response a volunteer small group leader once gave me. Most small groups are relying on the leader to not only ask questions, but to supply the insight and Biblical understanding they are hungry for. Although it would certainly be easier to just ask questions, your group often needs more from their leader.
As a small group leader, you may be desiring to give more to your group. You may also not be sure how to go about doing that. There are different kinds of leaders, and that’s a good thing! However, if you are looking to give more as a leader, keep these three simple things in mind.
1. Know God’s Word
If you have a desire to share more with your group about the context or background of the text your studying, you have to know God’s word. Be a daily reader of His word and study it in depth. When it comes to preparing for your group time, do your work and know what additional content you’d like your group to know. Know the questions you’ll be asking and be prepared with answers if your group is unsure. Try www.smallgroup.com, where thousands of Bible studies are available to you with questions and additional content already created for you, and is all customizable by you! This will help you immensely in leading your group, as you’ll have the additional insight you want your group to have, right at your fingertips! And the price is remarkably low!
2. Know Your Group
Depending on a variety of factors, you have to know what your group can comprehend or how much to give them within your time together. For example, I had a small group of men that I met with for many years. One man had a brain injury from a past heat stroke. Another had a brain injury from trauma while in the military. Another dropped out of school at an early age and never learned to read or write. Yet another was an alcoholic at such a level that he’d often show up to group having had a few too many. These men all loved Jesus, but I had to be careful with my choice of words and how much insight I shared with them. We took God’s word in simple and small chunks. I’ve also led groups that have included other pastors, a PhD college professor, the head of IT for a school system, business owners, etc. I’m not saying any one is better than the other (far from it), but we have to know what our group members are capable of and share with them accordingly. Know your people, know their stage of life, know their history, know their testimony, know their sin issues, know where they are in their trust in Jesus, and then teach and ask questions accordingly.
3. Know Yourself
Don’t try to be something you aren’t, but certainly don’t stop growing as a leader! Maybe you aren’t the theologian you wish you were and maybe you don’t have many answers to the questions your people have about scripture. But, maybe someone else in your group does have that knowledge. Lean on them, if they are willing. Maybe you are someone who naturally dominates conversation. Learn to pull back and allow others to speak. Or, maybe you naturally don’t say much at all and always let others speak. As the leader of your group, there are times you’ll need to take the reins and lead. Simply know who you are and don’t try to be someone you’re not.
No matter what type of small group leader you are, simply continue to 1) point your people to Jesus, 2) give them opportunities to share their hearts and how the day’s text applies to their lives, and 3) give them biblical insight / challenge / encouragement that will help them in their daily trust in Jesus. Most importantly, your group needs a leader who loves them and loves Jesus even more. You got this!