Why Small Group Leaders Must Learn to Say No

Why Small Group Leaders Must Learn to Say No

How to Say No and Small Groups

There is an art to saying “no” in every arena, but in the church world, it seems to be more difficult. How to say no and small groups can be tricky to navigate. There is a ministry for every person in need such as: homeless, senior adults, children, single moms and widows, youth, orphans, the sick, and so many others. There is so much good that can be done and all of them are important. It is tough to say “no.”

While Jesus was on earth He showed the disciples how to have boundaries, “You will always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you will not always have Me” (Mark 14:7). He is saying that there will always be a need to fill, but our first love and our first “yes” must be Him.

As cell leaders, we have a “YES!” in our hearts. We want to serve in any way that is needed. As pastors, we want to help everyone and create ministries for every need. The question is, what did Christ actually call us specifically to do? Years ago, my mentor said something very important, “What is your primary and secondary ministry?” Within the church body, what has God specifically called me to do?

If we ask this question, things get quite a bit simpler. If God has called us to be a cell church, then that should be our primary focus. We can say “no” with a clear conscience to things that may detract from that primary mission.

People are always going to have ideas and plans. They are going to feel led by the Lord to build ministries and opportunities. That is one of my favorite things about cell groups. We can allow people to work in their callings and giftings. If someone has a calling to minister to the elderly, they can go and serve as a cell. The group may adopt a nursing home or widow. As pastors and leaders, we can encourage people to say “yes” to what is on their heart without discouraging their zeal.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes after I have agreed to do something, I am annoyed or overwhelmed by the task. It is a reminder from the Lord that we are not supposed to do everything. We are called to equip workers for the work of the ministry and then send them out (Ephesians 4:12).

Lastly, when we say “yes” to something, it means we are saying “no” to something else. That “something else” could be time with God, making memories with family or other opportunities. Before you say “yes” or “no,” pray about it. Ask God if it is from Him or a distraction from the enemy, then be obedient with the answer He gives you and your ministry. You can practice and excel in the art of saying “no!”

This article originally appeared here.

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