What are the qualifications to lead a group? It’s all based on relationships. There are three relationships that are so important for our Small Group ministry to thrive; and it’s important that our Group Leaders have healthy relationships in each area.
- Relationship with God
- A Christian who is in a maturing relationship with God.
- Relationship with Family
- In obedience to God is seeking to have a positive and healthy relationship with immediate family.
- Relationship to Church
- A committed member of the Church family.
- Fully supports the Vision and Mission of the Church family through giving and serving.
Prior to leading a small group it is necessary to attend a leader training event. The initial training will take place in the form of a Model Small Group. Subsequent training will take place quarterly (on a Saturday morning for three to four hours) prior to launching new groups. Because there will likely be occasional changes, it will be necessary to attend the training event even if you have previously led a group.
Developing New Leaders
Developing and creating a pipeline of new leaders is crucial for our Small Group ministry as we move forward from the start-up phase. Having quality leaders will create our ability to maintain quality groups, and add more groups as the need arises. From a wider perspective, our overall health as a Church will depend greatly on having fresh and strong leaders who are both capable and willing to step forward when the need arises.
This will not happen just because we recognize the need for it to happen. We must develop an intentionality and purpose in cultivating a culture that encourages people to find their leadership talents and gives them to opportunity to develop those talents in a safe environment. Again, this will not happen by accident. Together we will make it happen!
There are two intentional activities that we will consistently plan on. We are purposing for these activities to help accomplish the goals of creating the culture and creating opportunities.
- Consistently teach on Biblical leadership in our large group worship assembly and middle group Bible classes. We are often guilty of two errors when it comes to our thinking on biblical leadership; and these misunderstandings can create barriers to maintaining a leadership development culture.
- First, it’s easy for us to equate being in charge or being the boss to leadership. These are two different dynamics. The authority that comes with being in charge is title or role based. That means that because of a position a person holds, they inherently hold a position of authority. That’s true for many of us at work. The manager at the plant has the authority because he is the Manager. This is not necessarily leadership. Leadership authority is not derived from a position or role that a person holds. It is given to the leader by the people that choose to follow him or her; and is generated through the influential relationships that a person creates and cultivates.
- The second misunderstanding is that successful secular leadership will naturally translate into successful spiritual leadership. Often times this is the case. There are generic traits that lend themselves to strong leadership, regardless of the setting. But when we study how Jesus led people, we see that there is something unique that sets Biblical leadership apart.
The more we teach (from the Bible) what Biblical leadership is and what it looks like, the more people will understand what it is not. From this understanding, encouragement and confidence will follow. Once people understand that they are gifted in ways that will allow them to be effective leaders, they are more willing to open themselves up to the risk of stepping out and giving leadership a try. This is a win that we must encourage and celebrate!
There is a particular passage that is especially relevant to this discussion.
1 Peter 2:5, 9
“And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests.”
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
What a glorious day it will be when we each come to understand how special we are and how much we have to offer; all because of our relationship with the Heavenly Father!
- Intentional Mentoring in order to encourage and develop future leaders. There is something particularly inspiring when a person you respect and admire believes in you so much that they want to carve out special time and give you special attention in order to share their life and experiences with you. Helping people to find their potential as a fellow laborer in the Kingdom is one of the greatest pleasures that a leader can enjoy. This is mentoring. This is special and needs to be held in high regard.
In the context of our Small Groups, each group leader will be encouraged to seek out a co-leader with whom they can mentor and help develop. There is no particular program or skill set needed to do this. Simply inviting someone to come alongside you in ministry is sufficient. In addition, both the Shepherds and Minister will be intentional about seeking out opportunities to minister to and help develop leadership skills that are just waiting to be cultivated and utilized. To put in a concise statement, each group leader, Shepherd and Minister will proactively seek to train their replacement.
Role of the Staff and Shepherds
The Shepherds primary responsibility to the Small Group ministry will be to model active participation and provide continual shepherding to the group leaders. The Shepherds understand that leading a group will bring great joy and at times difficult challenges. They are committed to doing whatever is necessary to nurture and mentor each group leader in order to help them to be as effective as possible in this important role.
The Preacher (and any subsequent ministry staff members) will generally serve as a group leader. Most often, as the needs allow, the Preacher will take one quarter each year to participate in a group without having leadership responsibilities. The Preacher will work alongside the Deacon of Small Groups to help provide vision and direction for the ministry. They will work together to recruit and train group leaders, provide continual assessments of the status of the ministry, develop plans for the future and in general carry out the leadership of the ministry as a whole.