Stepping out to start a new group can be an intimidating and scary experience. All of us have the same questions starting out: Will anyone show up? Have I invited the right people? Have I picked the right study? How will I disciple everyone in my group? All of these questions are natural and healthy. As you begin this new adventure of group leadership, here are five helpful steps to take next.
1. Find a coach.
Everyone needs a coach. Even the best athletes in the world have coaches who still help them try to be better. The best way for you to progress as a leader is to have a seasoned leader walk alongside you. If your church has not assigned a coach to you, reach out to someone who has been leading longer than you, and ask them if they would be willing to meet with you occasionally and answer questions. Most leaders will be honored that you asked.
2. Be one step ahead.
One of the biggest worries for leaders is not being worthy of leading other people. How can I spiritually lead others when I am still trying to figure out how to lead myself? The truth is, none of us have arrived on our spiritual journey. Our responsibility is to become more like Christ and be willing to take a few people along for the ride.
3. Connect closely with two to three people.
Most leaders will not be able to connect on a deeper level with every person in their group, nor should they try to. If you look at the example of Jesus and His small group, He connected intimately with only three disciples. Look for two to three same sex members in your group whom you can personally disciple; then, help others in the group do the same.
4. Don’t have all the answers.
It’s OK to not know the common translation of the name “Zephaniah” (“Yahweh has hidden”…in case it comes up). Always be ready to stop an unhealthy debate with, “I don’t know the answer, but I will check with a pastor this week and we can revisit it at our next meeting.” Also, a few discussions will need to be taken outside of the group time. People will respect a leader who is transparent more than one who seems to have all of the answers.
5. Pray weekly for group members.
A leader who prays is a leader who can be followed. Don’t underestimate the power of praying for each group member by name. Prayer sets the stage for life-changing moments to occur through the group meetings, and in the lives of group members.