Preparing to Lead a Small Group
I LOVE mentoring a small group. Let me rephrase...I LOVE mentoring/shepherding/laughing with/speaking truth to/eating donuts with/celebrating and rejoicing with/crying when life is hard/teaching/ a small group. I love making disciples! That’s how Jesus did it, right?
Jesus loved teaching the crowds and He spent the majority of His time revealing the Father to the 12, taking them with Him when He healed people, and they ate a lot of fish and I would assume they laughed a lot.
So, leading a small group is no small thing. You are not ever just a warm body in a room. I have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead in me. When I enter a room, Jesus the hope of glory is in me. Through the conversations I have, Jesus can change me and others. Same for you! You don’t have to know Greek to be changed by Jesus. I know illiterate people who are FIERY evangelists. Any lie of inadequacy you have, pick up your Bible to quiet it. Jesus is alive in you! Our role is to share of His excellencies!
Hopefully, that intro / pep rally got you excited to lead a small group! was not the relaxing activity I thought it would be. I’m excited! Y'all we get to lead groups of women and girls!! Here are some tips for you as the group leader to lead well and with integrity. Check them out!
1. Actually do prep.
Every thing of value in your life requires effort. Married? You have to talk to your spouse. Got a job? You have to show up. Friends? You have to text them.
Let's look at it from a different perspective. Sometimes simply asking Jesus to change your attitude/heart motivation will give you the gift of how you view your responsibilities.
NOW: Married? You have opportunities to serve them. Got a job? Show them you’re made in the image of a creative God with your work ethic and ideas. Friends? How can you bless them today?
Small Group: “Ugh it’s 10 minutes before group, I should cram.” Don’t settle for that! You’re making a disciple. Do something every day for your group. Give your time, love, and care because this group has value.
2. Have a plan.
I would set the goal to pray for your group by name 5 minutes every morning. Actually set an alarm. Your prayers can be general: for their faith to increase, for God to bless your time together, for God to create community, for God to give them a desire for His Word and more. As you get to know them, the requests will be more specific. Let them know you are praying for them throughout the week. Read your Bible every day. You are not prepping for a lesson. You are becoming a person apart from your group and modeling a lifestyle to them.
3. Set their expectations.
Last year I discipled a group of senior girls (they were fantastic).
The first week we met I said something like, "This year we will read our Bibles every day. You don’t have to journal every day, but I do want you to write down some major things the Lord is telling you so we have something to talk about in our group. We will not have our phones out (phones should never be out when people are talking about things that are important to them.) I’m going to teach you how to read the Bible, share your faith, and hold you accountable to do both. And, this works both ways...y’all teach me and hold me accountable too! The Holy Spirit is not 17 in you and 25 in me." (and then we all giggled bc I’m over 30- I do remember that part. ha). I ended with saying something like, "If you don’t want to meet these expectations, I’m sure there are other groups that will not do these things, but, if you trust me and try this, you’ll know how to walk with Jesus in college."
No one left and my year with them was wonderful! Expectations are great because everyone in the group is working toward the same goal. No one arrives or leaves frustrated because you have a plan (from Scripture) and you’re honest from the beginning.
4. Have a buddy.
Ephesians 4:12- “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (NLT)
One of the best ways to quiet the enemy’s lies "that you’re all alone" is to have a buddy. Someone that you’re honest with and trust. If you had a great time in your group, you talk about it and this person is happy for you. If there is a crisis/tragedy/prayer need within your group, this person has your back and points you back to the Gospel. You need Jesus and other believers to encourage, sharpen and teach you so that you can encourage, sharpen and teach others.
I could make this list WAY longer, but really the best small group leaders are the ones who keep Jesus at the center as a lifestyle outside of meeting together and during their time when they meet. As disciple-makers, we reproduce in kind. Let’s all be the disciples we want our disciples to be. I hope that you're encouraged and challenged in new ways to lead your small group!
Do you have any other small group leader tips? We'd love to know!! Also, if you're leading a small group this fall, tell us so we can pray for and encourage you! - Amy