Small groups and group leaders are everywhere in the church.Why? because this is how Jesus did it!! He preached to the masses, But had a group of 12 that he poured his life into, those who would carry on his work and also disciple others. What is a disciple? One who follows, and learns from a leader so as to do it themselves.
So if Jesus used a small group to grow disciples, then so should we!
The following are things you should know and do when you lead a small group.
Countenance of a small group leader:
1) Be prayed up before you go to group. You cannot give what you do not have. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Repent if you need to, Encourage yourself in the Lord. Pray in your spiritual language so that the Holy Spirit will be in control instead of your emotions. No one wants a grumpy leader. Even if you have had a terrible day… your countenance can reflect Joy because your well of grace does not come from you but from God. When you pray, you admit your need for God and then He give you the grace you need for your group that day.
2) Be “word” read-up. Have the Word of God ready in your mouth, stored in your heart. We must have fresh manna from God each day to battle the daily storms. We do not know what the people in our small group have faced this day and week. Word ready = ready for the battle. Be ready to encourage them with how God has encouraged you this week.
3) Be Passionate about the small group. Be passionate about Jesus and any tools you are using as a group to get closer to him. To be passionate you must remember your vision. What is the purpose of your small group? To make disciples. To lead people into an effective Christian walk with Jesus. Create momentum. Launch them into their destiny. Stir yourself up and get excited about this! Write down the vision. You may need it on a bad day to stir yourself up again. Do not let discouragement in others destroy your vision. NEVER speak negative about your leaders or your church. Those in your group will catch that negativity and RUN with it. If you have a problem with something…. talk to your leader about it. In terms of loyalty and covering others in love, You will reap what you sow. If you do not work out your issues, you will pass them on! They will turn into bitterness and bitterness will ruin your ability to lead and ultimately it will ruin your life.
4) Smile, Smile and Smile some more!!!! Again, no one wants a grumpy small group leader. Be welcoming. Do not make your personality type an excuse. An effective small group leader is friendly!!!
5) Show interest and love. Jesus, The Church, and Pastors all have their name on the line with your small group. Don’t think your responsibility small. You have a responsibility to be loving so that the member will in turn feel loved by the church and God Himself. But also remember that the Church, Pastor and even Jesus have given you this responsibility.>Do not be condemning! People who are not allowing the Holy Spirit to convict them/change them will feel condemned naturally, so we do not need to help out by being too harsh with them.
Also “Go and make disciples” – this should push you out of your comfort zone a bit. A key ingredient of a great small group leader should be obeying the word Go! Our groups should always be growing our group and seeing new converts. We should be asking people to join and seeing newer believers grown into Godly believers right under our supervision. Our group member’s visitors should come back and hopefully join the group. Often times we get real comfortable with the first 4 people that joined our group and we subconsciously or purposefully push out others who might want to join. It becomes a club or a “best friends” group rather than a discipleship group. This mentality will harm God’s kingdom. While there is a place for friendship in the Kingdom of God… A true leader is always looking for a way to bring in those on the outskirts. Be very careful: Are you a true leader, disciple maker or are you creating a “best friends” club?
6) Be full of faith. Unbelief stirs up fear, frustration, anger, and a life ruled by emotions. However, a life of faith stirs up passion, joy, love of God, expectation for miracles, and so much more. WE ARE NOT A PEOPLE LEAD BY OUR EMOTIONS, BUT BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD!!!! We must rely on God. Our emotions will fluctuate, God remains the same yesterday, today and forever!
Evidence of a Godly countenance = Fruit of Spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.
Practical Tips for leading in a small group:
1) Show up early. A wise man once said, “If you’re early, you are on time. If you are on time, you’re are late! and If you are late, you’re dead!” lol. But honestly, people will do what you do. Be early for church, for group, for events. It shows enthusiasm and breathes passion.
2) Set your space up in a way that all will be able to see your pretty face ;o). A circle is nice so that you can see them all too.
4) Start your official time together with a short prayer. This will set the tone of the group.
5) Accountability. Talk about the bible first! If you are keeping them accountable for specific things, go over that first before you move into any exhortation, or fun stuff. Otherwise you will get caught up in the emotions of the moment and forget to keep your disciples accountable. Accountablity will lead to growth in their spiritual walk, Keep the vision before you! Spiritual growth is the goal.
6) Give specific goals according to the person’s personality. Find out your small group members likes, dislikes, and personality type. The same approach will not work with everyone. ie: If they are having trouble reading the word of God, but love to talk… ask them to write down and prepare something to share from the bible reading this week at your next meeting. If you need creative ways to help your group, talk to your pastor about it.
6) Encourage, and encourage them again. Do not badger/be too harsh with people about keeping up with set goals. If you have given an assignment to do. Be excited when they fulfill it, but Do Not be angry with them. Remind them of the goal set before them and encourage them to finish the program. Remember, some can handle a firm encouragement and others will crumble. If you must rebuke, go to your pastor first to get wisdom. Do not react to the situation, but respond in love. Your pastor should be able to guide you through the situation with the goal of restoration.
7) Do not be a push over. Lead your group by guiding or navigating the conversation. Do not allow just one person (even you) to domineer the conversation. How do you guard against this? Tell them ahead of time that you will interrupt nicely anyone who is talking. Ask specific questions to each one and move to the next person in a timely manor. Give each person a chance to share.
8) Let this be group time. This should not be your mini soap box. Small group time is not a time for you to preach a message at them, or re-preach Sunday’s sermon. Yes, you may share… they need you. But they do not need to hear your voice the whole group time. Make sure your are interacting with everyone and giving your quick Godly input!!!! Let people answer before giving them what you think is the correct answer… but don’t make them keep guessing for it.
9) Keep it Spiritual. This is not just another social event. Have fun, but do not forget your purpose… making Disciples.
- >Ask them what they got out of their Bible reading this week. If they got nothing… show them how to get something. Show them how YOU do it.
- >Teach them to Write in their bibles, underline ect. Give them sticky notes to mark favorite verses. Let them ask questions about things they do not understand… if you do not understand it either, ask the question to your Pastor.
- >Expect them to get something from Bible reading after you have taught them how.
- >Teach them how to take notes and “feed/eat” from the sermon. Even if it is a “tough” word to “glean” from. The HolySpirit is always speaking. You can always receive something… even from Children’s Church.
- >Remind them that God will give them divine appointments with their unsaved friends. Ask them if they felt God’s prodding to share with a friend, but chickened out.
- >Teach them how to hear God’s voice... recognize their conscience as the Holy Spirit leading them. Take prayer requests.
- >Teach them to pray. Have each one pray out loud in group occasionally. We are all called to be prayer warriors. Pray for each others needs and be sure to share when your prayers are answered.
10) laugh, cry, have fun but always End in Prayer.
I hope this helps you feel ready to take on group discipleship when you are released by your Pastors to do so!
This post was especially for all my XG Group Leaders getting ready to start EDGE.
We are launching our group discipleship program called EDGE (Extreme Discipleship Group Encounters) this week at XG. My Husband wrote this curriculum over 12 years ago and we have adjusted and updated it over the years. It is a tool we use to help young people get into their bibles and get something out of it. pray, fast, take notes in church and other tools needed to grow in their Christian walk. We teach basic Christianity Foundation classes with it. Our goal is to raise Godly men and women who will take this world for Jesus!
I love you guys, go get ’em!