I’ve never attended or belonged to a perfect small group or Sunday School class. Never. Perhaps it was my own imperfections that ruined it for everyone else, but more than likely your group isn’t perfect either. We have shortcomings, people issues, and the realities of every day life that can often drag the group down from its lofty goals and make the group experience kind of ho-hum. After a while, this attitude sets into the group and we find ourselves with a group that could… and often should be so much more than it is.
No group has ever fully arrived, and when we as leaders accept things as “just the way things are” and stop working to help the group grow, then we are failing as leaders.
As the leader, it is part of our calling to rise above the status quo and accept the responsibility to address issues that our group may be facing. We are talking about some things that we as leaders can do to make sure that our group is doing what it needs to accomplish in its mission of making disciples.
First, recognize that you have a different role than the other people in your group. You are the leader, and your group members are followers. As such, it is critical that you realize that the “tone and tenor” of the group is your responsibility. There are reasons James 3:1 says, “Not many should become teachers… knowing that we will receive stricter judgment”, and this is one of those reasons.
Second, a suggestion. Although your group is part of the bigger picture of your church’s small group strategy, do not lose focus on your group’s identity. Instead, focus on the group that you lead, the group’s specific needs, and your group’s role in the bigger picture of the church’s mission.
Third, as the leader there are some issues that only you can address. Sometimes this can feel a bit overwhelming, so narrow it down into bite-size increments. Rather than tackle everything at once, narrow your focus to between 3 to 5 things that you want your group to work on right now.
Make a list of areas where you feel that your group needs to improve. A couple of phone calls or a lunch or two with some trusted group members may help you get a larger perspective.
Next, make three columns on a sheet of paper. In the left column, narrow the list down to no more than five areas that will help your group do a better job of making disciples and help the church fulfill its Great Commission mandate.
In the middle column, what action will you take to address this issue.
In the right column, write the name of person you will enlist to help you with the issue. Below is a sample…
Person to enlist
|Need improved personal ministry||Call each person every week||Mark|
|Lack of evangelism||Start an evangelistic prayer list during group meeting||Beth|
|Meetings start late||Start – even if only one person is in attendance||Me|
|Leadership development||Need a leader in training||Aaron|
|Better friendliness before group starts||Enlist a couple of hosts to make sure everyone feels welcome;
Refreshments & food
|David & Yvonne
Recognizing group needs and taking action to meet those needs is one of the most vital roles of the group leader. Also, establishing and addressing these needs will help you and your group have a winsome feel. People prefer to be in a group that is actively engaged. Although they may not be able to identify exactly what has happened, your small group will notice a different atmosphere in the group as well.