As a small group leader, do you ever wonder, “What’s the secret to having a small group where people’s lives really change?”
We all know that small groups are not always synonymous with authentic community. Many groups may appear authentic, but over time, not a whole lot of transformation occurs.
So how do leaders facilitate real life change in their groups? A good rule of thumb is that the speed of the leader always mimics the speed of the team. In other words, the rate at which the group grows is dependent on the spiritual growth and health of the leader. The secret is not what the leader does – although leaders need to prepare for their group and learn skills – but it’s who they are as individuals. What matters most is their own authenticity and walk with God.
During the last night Jesus was with his followers he was about to be crucified, he tells them, “My father is the vinedresser… you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15)
This message is for us too. As small group leaders we need to remember that we must rely on God. This means not neglecting our own vital walk with Him. Even if we speak well and have a leadership gift and are very knowledgeable, if we don’t have a close relationship with the Lord there is something very important missing.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he encourages him to do a great job as a new leader of the church. Yet more than this, he wants Timothy to “…flee from the love of money and pursue righteousness, faith, and gentleness.” Paul warned Timothy because he knew all too well that if left to ourselves, as humans we are tempted to pursue things other than God.
Like Timothy, we need God and others Christians to help keep us on track. For some of us that might mean meeting with God first thing in the day and having people in our life with whom we can share our hearts and pray. Or it might mean that we need to pray this prayer: “God, I need you to speak to me before I ask you to speak through me.”
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