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Online Course

Session 1: The Goal of a Small Group

Getting Started as a Small Group Leader

Do you know the purpose of your small group? In this session, Chip not only explains the Biblical goal for a small group, but he also provides the practical steps on how to get there.

Welcome to Getting Started as a Small Group Leader. You know that word leader is a loaded term, and what I want you to know is we’re not talking about you knowing everything, or telling everybody what to do. Leadership in its essence is influence. As a small group leader the real goal is to facilitate. You want to facilitate God’s work in this group of people. And so this course is actually designed for three different groups. First is, you’re new. You’ve never led a small group, and you’re thinking, how do you do this? Well, we’re gonna help you learn. Second, you might have done it, but think, gosh, I’ve never had any training, and then I’d like to do it a lot better. And then the third group is, maybe you’re a veteran, and you’ve led a lot of small groups, and there’s an apprentice in your group, or you’re coaching some other people, and you would really like a tool that you could give to them. And so, that’s the goal of this course. It’s gonna be brief. It’s gonna be clear. It’s gonna be very, very practical.

As I think about leading a small group I think of my very first small group leader. He was a brick layer. I was in college. A blue collar worker, high school educated, no theological training, but boy did he love God. He was not dynamic. Can I tell you? He was actually pretty boring. I can say this out loud, he’s a good friend now. I went to this small group, and he facilitated the work of God in my life. There was times where it his phone call. It was his inviting me over to dinner. It was his tenacious care for me. He had a good set of tools. He kept with me. It was his love for me that caused this change in my life that when I look back now I’m glad for all the Greek, all the Hebrew, all the college, the graduate school, and the seminary, but let me tell you something. Anything that God has done in my life to this point, the greatest and most important factor is, Dave Marshall.

Because see what Dave did is he taught me how to hear God’s voice from His word. Dave facilitated and loved me where he was at. The point I want you to get is, you don’t have to know everything. You don’t have to be a spiritual giant. Dave was a man who modeled the Christian life, who cared about me. He had a good set of tools that we went through. And in that journey all my ups, all my downs, I look back over a number of years where that brick layer with a college student imparted the very life of Christ. He knew about basic principles that make a small group great.

Number 1. He knew that God had to work in him first before he’s gonna work through the group. That’s what I would say to you. So often we think it’s about what am I gonna say, and what questions do I ask, and what if they ask me a question and I don’t know the answer? It’s interesting, when Jesus was recruiting His team do you remember His invitation? Follow me. That was it. “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” So first and foremost, I want you to know that it’s your own walk with God. It’s you learning and loving imperfectly to follow Him. That’s the number one principle.

The second one is knowing, well what’s the goal of a small group? Is it that everyone gets every answer right? Is it they come to all the things all the time? That they think you’re wonderful? Nah, the goal is you’re facilitating God’s work. It’s making disciples. Jesus said, “Go to all the world and make disciples.” Followers, people who authentically, imperfectly, and passionately are following Him. And so that’s a journey. And so what you want to say is, “Lord, how can you use me where I’m at, with what I know to help these people in community, in this environment of love and kindness, and accountability really grow in Christ?” That’s your goal.

There is an environment in which discipleship occurs because God’s goal is to help each and every person, including you as a facilitator, to become more and more like Christ. And that happens when you come before God daily when you do life in community, and when you’re on mission 24/7. It’s about coming before God. You first and foremost saying, “Oh Lord, I love you. Teach me. Help me. I want to follow you.” It’s you helping those in your group develop that pattern, and then it’s doing life in community. It’s face to face, heart to heart. It’s a group of people that in this group you care about one another. You build relationships. And that it’s not just us four and no more. The goal of this group is you’re on mission 24/7.

So, those are the basics. You facilitate. You model what you know. You gather a group of people. You say to them, “We’re gonna learn together to come before God corporately, and individually. We’re gonna do life in community, and as we grow we’re gonna be on mission, on mission in our home, on mission at work, and maybe even on mission together.” So, those are the first and early steps to becoming an effective small group leader. Can’t wait to see you next time when we’ll talk about how do you actually launch a group? How do you recruit people? How do you know what resource you ought to use? That’s in our next time together.

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