Archive for 31 Days of 3 Roles for Guiding Groups

Day 30-Leadership Requests

prayer-room-symbol-braille-sign-sb-0358In the book 3 Roles for Guiding Groups, David Francis shares that, when he served as a church education director, his greatest tool used in identifying potential leaders was PRAYER.  He used to utilize a closet sized room on the third floor of his education building as a prayer/study room.  Contained in that room was simply a desk, chair, church directory, printout of all members, and stacks of index cards with cut-up photos of church members from old directories, newsletters, and new member photo shots.  These simple tools allowed David to take his leadership requests/needs to God and allow him to discern from these lists of names potential leaders whom God may be preparing, through his Holy Spirit, to be used in leadership.

Flash forward to 2014.  This same tool is available to us as leaders.  We serve the same God who still answers the prayers of leaders who seek His guidance in finding where He is working in the hearts and lives of your church members (and potential members).  Our methods have changed with technology advances, but prayer still works.  We may not have a stack of index cards with cutout photos, but we do have membership databases, Twitter™ streams, Facebook™ profiles, and “prayer rooms”.  We have the ability to gain near instant access to libraries of data on the likes and dislikes of nearly everyone who attends our church.  Without going as far as being cyber-stalkers, we can easily make a connection with members of our church and lift them up in prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to work His way into the heart of these potential leaders.

David shared how, when he asked God to reveal leaders to him, He did!  He ALWAYS did!  Were people always obedient?  Unfortunately no, and sometimes he didn’t discern His will perfectly, but the more time he spent praying, the better he got.

So if you are in a leadership vacuum needing more leaders, let the Holy Spirit know your need and allow Him to work in specific people whom you identify.  Always be open to add names to your prayer list when God brings them to your mind and when you meet them face to face.  God answers prayer, AND we need to be open to SEE those answers when they happen.  We still need to do the work, but our most powerful tool is still PRAYER.




Jason McNair
Strengthening Churches Missionary for Utah Idaho Southern Baptist Convention

Day 29-Leadership Results

number-3Have you ever heard of the writing principle called the “Rule of Three?” According to Wikipedia, the Rule of Three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader or audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. From slogans (“Go, fight, win!”) to films, many things are structured in threes. Examples include The Three Stooges, Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the Three Musketeers. The Latin phrase, “omne trium perfectum” (everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete) conveys the same idea as the rule of three.

In Sunday School, the effective leader should expect three results: REACH, RELEASE, REPRODUCE

If your Sunday School class is going to grow and reach new people, it will take all the members being on mission. Encourage your class members to share the names of lost people they know who need to be involved in Bible study. List these names on a poster in the class and pray regularly for them. Celebrate when one comes to know Christ and when they are enrolled in a Bible study class. Challenge your members to enroll at least one person in the class over the next quarter. Lead the class to become missional by finding a need in your community and plan a ministry project to address it.

Sometimes Adult Sunday School classes seem to forget where new leaders for the preschool, children, and student classes come from. They come from Adult Sunday School classes! As your Sunday School grows, you will need many more workers. Rather than be upset about losing class members to serve in these important areas of the church, you should celebrate them as missionaries from your class. Call them Associate Members or Members-in-Service. And make sure to keep them involved in the life of the class by keeping in touch with them and inviting them to all class functions. By doing this, more members will be willing to serve in the church.

Every living thing needs to reproduce. Otherwise it will slowly die away. The same is true for a Sunday School class. If you truly want to grow, then each class must reproduce itself! When is a class ready to reproduce? When the room is too full, when the teacher cannot keep track of all the member’s names, or when your apprentice teacher is ready to lead. Instead of “splitting the class” or “dividing the class”, try “birthing” a new class. Make it as exciting as having a new child or grandchild being born. Enjoy the pregnancy period as you prepare the class, and then celebrate the birth with a party!

Don’t forget…”omne trium perfectum”. Your Sunday School is not complete until these three things are happening in every class – Reach, Release, Reproduce!





Mark Donnell is the Sunday School/Discipleship specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Day 28-Leadership Ruts

143rd Open Championship - Round FourI enjoy playing golf. Golf Designers strategically place sandtraps, water, trees, etc. to challenge the golfer. When a golfer gets in a sandtrap: what’s his goal? To GET out. The goal is not to make the sandtrap…a sandbox. The goal is to get out.
When leaders recognize they are in a rut, they need to get out. Ruts will keep your group and your class from getting the ball in the hole. Allan Taylor, minister of education at FBC Woodstock, says leaders lead they don’t point. Lead your class and group and Sunday School to get out of the ruts.

In 3 Roles of a Group Leader, the authors identify three major ruts that Sunday School leaders need to avoid. First, a leader must keep his group from getting in the rut of being a closed group. One of the major challenges of a leader is to keep groups from turning inward so that new people are not wanted nor expected. When this happens, classes lose their effectiveness in evangelism and assimilation. When this happens, your church suffers because the organization that is supposed to be the organization designed for ministry and growth fails in its task.

Second, the authors suggest that a leader must avoid the rut of thinking “bigger is better.” When groups just grow bigger, they fail to start new groups. When new groups are not started, the organization becomes stagnant. When the organization becomes stagnant, it is harder for new people to get connected. When new people don’t get connected, they find another church. As your class and group gets bigger, be willing to start a new group. Lead don’t point. Your class will follow your leadership.

Third, a leader must avoid the rut of thinking only of the active members of the group. In other words, those who show up on a regular or irregular basis. If your group only focuses on those who show up, then those who don’t show up will be ignored or removed from your list. When those who don’t show up or ignored and removed from the list, these members become names on a membership list. When they become names on a membership list, no class is responsible for ministering to them when they are absent or to encourage them when they are faithful. When this happens, they ultimately drop out. When they drop out, their gifts and talents are lost to the ministry of the church. Lead don’t point. Come up with strategies that will make sure that every member counts, every guest gets connected, and every lost person hears the gospel.

Lead in such a way that people will follow. Followers will follow leaders who demonstrate their faithfulness in five ways. First, followers must be wholeheartedly convinced of their leaders’ integrity. Second, the leader’s servant hood needs to be felt, understood, believed, and practiced. Third, the leader must be willing to be accountable to others. Fourth, the leader has to be vulnerable. Lastly, the leader leads by doing the work of a leader.
Do the work of a leader. Recognize the rut and GET OUT!!!!





Mark Miller is the Sunday School specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention… AND an avid golfer.

Mark also has his own blog at


Day 27-Leader Routines

David Francis and Ken Braddy do a great job of presenting three major areas where a Sunday School/Small Group leader should focus in order to be a good leader.  In their new book 3 Roles for Guiding Groups, they describe the importance of a Sunday School Leader being a reader, a prayer and a reproducer.

readingMost books on leadership make the quote, “leaders are readers and readers are leaders.”  This is true of someone who is going to lead vibrant, healthy and growing groups.  One must continually learn how to guide people, how to teach or facilitate a group, being an effective disciple, they will study learning styles and in general learn about what it means to be a leader of people.  One discipline that a group leader will practice is to have a regular routine of reading in the areas that will make you a better group “leader.”  Do you follow particular people on Twitter who post regularly about leadership or groups? Do you make it a routine of reading certain blogs (like this one)?  If you are going to be a growing leader of groups, you will make it a routine to read!  This of course assumes that you are in a regular routine of reading the Bible.

The second discipline that Francis and Braddy point to is that a good group leader will have a routine in their prayer life. Make it a discipline in your daily routine to have a place for prayer and a routine in your prayer life. Have a regular prayer list to pray for areas of your life, for your family, your group, your church, other ministries, missionaries, government leaders, world events and a list for people you believe to be lost and need to know Jesus as savior. Pray for lost people and for the beginning of new groups.

The third discipline is reproduction.  This is a key discipline in the life of a true leader.  A leader is one who leaves a trail of other leaders behind them.  They have influenced people in such a way that they inspire people to engage in life, to accept responsibility, to step up when there is a need.  A true leader will “reproduce” new leaders by investing in others.  Mark Miller and Ken Blanchard have written a series of books about leadership.  “The Heart of a Leader” and “Great Leaders Grow” are two of these books.  You should invest in your own leadership by reading these books and learning how to serve others and how to reproduce yourself as a leader.

The bottom line is this, if you think about these routines, they are the routines of a true disciple.  They reflect what Paul taught us in 2 Timothy 2:2, “and the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, teach these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  Good routines in the life of a leader will reflect good discipleship routines.




Dr. Steve McNeil is Team Leader of Mobilization, Equipping and Communication at The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.

Day 26-Leader Resources

In the book, 3 Roles for Guiding Groups, David Francis and Ken Braddy point out that leaders often accumulate books, articles, and other helps designed to improve leadership skills and identify best practices. While leadership books are both plentiful and helpful, some resources available to leaders aren’t tangible but nonetheless require careful stewardship.
leadership-chalkboardConsider these five resources that leaders should work to acquire and use strategically.

 A Leader’s Personal Disciplines
The old adage, “you cannot lead someone to a place you’ve never been” is certainly true about spiritual leadership. A leader’s greatest resource is the ability to demonstrate or share a personal example from his or her own life and spiritual journey. Failing to cultivate daily spiritual disciplines will shorten the road down which others may be led.

A Leader’s Perspective
Most people have probably heard the phrase “leaders are readers”. This may refer to the depth of leadership knowledge that one can accumulate through disciplined study. However, leaders should also seek to acquire a wide range of insight regarding leadership. I have found great principles from reading leaders in various fields of ministry and pastoral leadership, business, professional sports, military service, and academics. A wider exposure to many kinds of resources will give leaders the ability to see issues from many perspectives and increase good decision-making.

A Leader’s Influence
All leaders possess some measure of positional authority. That is, leaders have the ability to have influence based solely on the position they hold. Good leaders have also gained relational authority and credible authority as well based on how they have proven themselves to be both caring and capable. The power of influence is a trust that should be handled with great care. Use your influence in a Sunday School class to promote unity, uphold truth, mobilize learners to action, and build up the church.

A Leader’s Encouragement
People everywhere need encouragement! A word of affirmation from someone in a leadership position is a very powerful resource. Leaders should look for ways to affirm other learners, encourage teachers, notice examples of life changes taking place within the group, and bring positive reports from fellowship and ministry events. Leaders should be people whom others look forward to seeing each time the group meets because they know they will walk away encouraged.

A Leader’s Outlook
Finally, the leader has the responsibility to keep the group looking forward in faith. While others may point out negatives, the leader must focus on strengths. The leader has the opportunity to hold out hope – one of the most powerful motivators and influences of all. The leader can never give up!

Leaders should keep building libraries! But being mindful of increasing these less tangible but powerful resources will result in even greater impact.





David Bond is the Small Groups/Sunday School specialist at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.