Before you risk cruising down the same old small group rut, why don’t you take some time to pop the hood and run a quick diagnostic on your leadership strategy.
People definitely grow best in groups, as every small group guru will attest, but every group doesn’t grow people well. Like most everything else, effective small group leadership requires periodic tune-ups and tweaking.
So, here’s a four-point inspection that might help out.
1. Community: Hebrews 10:24-25
Someone has said “relationship” is the most important word in the human language. As the verse above reminds us, people need consistent encouragement and mutual motivation to love and good deeds. Think honestly about how well your group is building community among one another.
Of course, you can’t make people become intimate friends, but you can put people first, create a venue for authenticity, and model hospitality and genuine friendship.
2. Content: 2 Timothy 3:14-16
Whether your group is a Bible fellowship, a topical faith formation group, or a prayer and support group, the content of the teaching should be accurate, interesting and relevant. Good planning will guard against the content getting stale, suffering from lack of preparation, or straying into irrelevancy.
3. Care: 1 Peter 1:22
I learned long ago that people will endure many failings or faults in church life if they feel cared for. Caring really is the litmus test for all friendships.
4. Commission: John 3:17
The best question is not, “Can your muscle car get your group to the finish line with power, comfort and style?” Better to consider, “Who else are you taking with you?” Most of us have experienced the life cycle of groups where the once welcoming and faith-sharing group becomes closed and clique-ish.
After some careful planning, may your small group roar off the line this year. May your tank be full, your tunes be rocking and your track be smooth.
[CC Image • Simon Davison on Flickr]