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Give Leading a Small Group a Second Thought

In deep thoughtsThink of a time when you were presented with a risky proposition. Got it in mind? What was your initial reaction to it? Were you quick to accept it? Were you quick to say “no”? Either of these responses (or some response in between) are telling of your personality. We live in a time when a person’s “gut reaction” is greatly valued. Yet, if we’re honest, our first thoughts aren’t always the best. I have reminded my wife of this ever since she turned me down the first time I asked her out.

The decision to lead a small group isn’t a small one and it certainly is deserving of great thought and prayer. Yet sometimes people aren’t even willing to give it a “second thought.” They just rule it out and decide it isn’t for them. What follows are five of the top “first thoughts” most people have when I’ve approached them about becoming a small group leader, and a suggested “second thought” to give it.

1. “I really don’t know enough about the Bible to be a small group leader.”
Second Thought: “… but I’m learning more and more. How can I know if I’m ready?”
This is far and away the answer I hear the most. In reality, there are some that aren’t ready with regards to their understanding of the Bible. However, being a small group leader isn’t about teaching the group. The main task is facilitating discussion and shepherding the group; we also provide discussion guidelines to help keep groups on track. When I meet with potential leaders, I talk with them about where they are at in their understanding of the Bible. That said, let us help you to know if you are ready or not.

2. “I don’t have it all together yet.”
Second Thought: “… but I know that Christ is transforming me daily.”
While it would be great to “have it all together,” the fact is that none of us are completed works yet. Thankfully, as we walk with Christ daily, he does transform us. There is great wisdom in being able to admit that we’re still a work in progress. It is that type of transparency that makes a great small group leader.

3. “We already have enough small group leaders.”
Second Thought: “… but I’m willing to consider if I’m called to the task.”
It is true that the number of small groups at epikos has grown each year. That is in large part because there have been more people each year. Another reason is that more people have been ready to take the next step to join a small group. My hope and prayer is that this continues so that we can continue “making more and better disciples.” That said, we need to pray that God will raise up leaders in our congregation.

4. “Would you ask me again next year?”
Second Thought: “… but maybe I could be an apprentice this year.”
The days of walking in someone’s footsteps to learn a skill, taking opportunities along the way to learn in a hands-on way, have all but vanished. Well, we’re trying to keep them alive! It is true – not everyone is ready to lead a small group. However, if you sense the desire, serving as an apprentice is a great way to grow in your readiness.

5. “I’m totally ready to be a small group leader.”
Second Thought: “… but this is a big task that I really want to prayerfully consider. May we meet to discuss what all is involved before I take the next step?”
Okay, I don’t know that I’ve actually heard this one. However, people that are ready to take a step forward admit they aren’t always sure about what all is involved. I love meeting with prospective leaders; it is one of the best parts of my job. Think God might be leading you to step up this year? Let’s talk about it!

The fact is, we don’t just want warm bodies to take on this role. We don’t want to put someone in a ministry role that isn’t right for them. Instead, we trust that God will raise up the leaders we need. I’ll end with this challenge: give leading a small group a second thought.

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