The Personal Devotional Life of an Effective Small Group Leader

When you read the title of this article, you probably thought to yourself, “…I feel guilty.” You’re not alone. On annual basis I will lead 40 or more training events for full-time and part-time church pastors and small group leaders. In many of my sessions, I ask this question: “How many of you struggle to spend time with God daily?” And, in almost every instance, at least 70% of those in attendance gingerly raise their hands above their guilty heads.

The plague of devotional apathy must be wiped out. Why? Because it’s deeply affecting the group you lead. There are at least three outcomes to spending time daily with God:

  1. Spiritual growth
  2. Biblical understanding
  3. Hearing the still small voice of the Holy Spirit as He gives guidance

Small group leaders: When we overlook, rationalize the need for, or ignore this important discipline, we lack three things that are essential to great leadership:

  1. Becoming a mature follower of Jesus Christ. We can’t lead our group properly if we aren’t mature enough to lead our group members to their own optimal spiritual maturity.
  2. Biblical understanding. This must be instilled in our minds and hearts so that we can give wise counsel to the group members under our watchcare.
  3. The guidance of the Holy Spirit. We must be in tune to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who knows the present and future situations our group members will find themselves in.

I beg you: set aside 30 minutes each day to read and study God’s Word, pray for God’s guidance, and listen for His voice. You will reap the benefits in the growth of your leadership abilities.  

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Rick Howerton
Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.

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