With new small group events right around the corner, it’s easy to get caught up in the “I” dotting and “T” crossing of our current season. For those of us who fish for group leaders, group members and community builders this time of year, the forest is easily lost in the trees.
We’ve all heard the term “power of prayer” more times than we can likely count. But when it comes to group building and group leader building, prayer is an often overlooked tool. Everyone knows praying is an integral part of groups, but it can often become an afterthought, instead of a leading effort.
Several years ago, a national study of small group attenders asked why they found their group so enjoyable. What was it about the group that had them coming back again and again? The answer to this question is worth its weight in gold.
New group leaders often ask, “what can I do to make my group irresistible?”
In fact, if you’re reading this, you’ve likely had one or more group leaders under your care ask you a variation of this question.
Does a perfect environment where people can grow and learn and share and care take center stage?
Does the perfect balance of study and fellowship mean more than anything else?
Does the perfect amount and type of food provided, if any, have a huge impact on attendance?
All these things are often very important, but also very earthly. You may have guessed by now, however, that none of them came close to the top answer in the survey.
The number one thing responders cited as to why they love their group, by a long shot, was the power of prayer.
Pray for Your Group Members
Knowing their group leaders prayed for them regularly meant more than where they met, what they studied, who they built relationships with, how their faith grew, what yummy food they ate or any of the other measurable things we humans often put too much value in when hosting groups.
If you already have prayer deeply embedded in your groups culture: way to go! Your ministry is likely thriving and viewed as a huge blessing to most, if not all, who participate.
If not, the upcoming event you’re currently planning is a great place to start.
Pray With your Group Leaders
When you meet with your leaders, pray with them – specifically and individually – on the spot. Make sure to elaborate that you are praying with them, not for them. This simple difference in wording invites them to take an active role, instead of remaining passive with an expectation of someone else taking their needs before God as they sit on the sidelines.
When preparing for this, listen to what they have to say, hear their needs and then when you’ve heard what’s weighing on their hearts and minds, ask them if you can pray with them.