Fall is right around the corner. Kids are going back to school, the weather is falling back into cooler days, and you may be stepping back into your small group routine. As you get ready for the fall kickoff, how can you prepare your leaders?
Small group leaders can gain key wisdom from this roundup of practical small group leadership articles.
Every small group leader has questions. Most have lots of questions. It can be intimidating to take on the leadership of a group, but you can be assured that (almost) every small group leader has the same doubts, concerns, and questions that you do. The second that we as leaders think we have it all figured out is when we should stop being leaders. I have discovered that the best leaders always have questions—and they’re not afraid to ask them.
One of the great privileges of leading small groups is having the opportunity to help someone work through a tough issue. Yet, the fear of dealing with these issues can actually cause a leader to never step up to lead, or to quit or do all they can to remain on the surface to avoid an issue. It’s also what can cause a well-intentioned leader to become a “Bible answer assault person,” quoting Bible verses at someone hoping to fix the problem, unaware of how to come alongside the person and help.
When I enlist leaders for new groups, I look for one key trait: a teachable spirit. The value of any teacher—whether he or she has never led a group or has been leading groups for fifty years—is his or her desire to learn—and keep learning. Unfortunately, too many leaders assume they know exactly how to lead a group, and that assumption is based on how someone once led them. Too often, bad teaching skills are simply passed down through the years.
Some of you don’t need this post. If you feel like your day and your week have a good rhythm; if you aren’t burnt out, exhausted, or stressed; if you seem to have enough time to get everything done that you need to do, then feel free to skip this one. This post is for the people who aren’t sure how they’re going to get everything done, whose task list outpaces their availability, who feel like they’re juggling not just one too many things but three too many things.
The number one barrier to someone stepping up to lead a small group is the word leader. Take five seconds right now and think about what you imagine when you hear that word. Go ahead, I’ll wait. What came to mind? A CEO of a large company? A head of state? The senior pastor of your church? We all have preconceived ideas of what a leader should be, sound, and look like. I imagine someone who is tall (I’m short), extroverted (I’m an introvert), a scholar (I, um … struggled), and forceful (definitely not me). Basically, someone who is the opposite of me.
Deborah Spooner is a Minnesota-born analytical creative serving as a Marketing Strategist for Lifeway’s Groups Ministry. As a pastor’s daughter with a background in Digital Communications and Media and Biblical & Theological Studies, you can find her at her local church, in deep conversation, or with a book or pen in hand as she seeks to know Christ more and make Him known.