Whether you use a low or high bar of small group leadership, I think all of us have hope that our leaders will do more than open their home, facilitate a discussion or convene a meeting. And … I think some of us have begun laying the foundation for a kind of leadership pathway.
Not long ago I noticed a post on Thom Rainer’s blog on the “8 Commitments for Bible Study Leaders.” As usual, it was very well thought out and extremely helpful, but it seemed to be primarily focused on the role of a Bible study teacher. Important … but not targeted to the small group leaders many of us are identifying, recruiting and developing.
Here are the commitments I’d like my small group leaders to make:
1. I will make my daily, living connection with Jesus Christ a priority—being in community with Him is the foundation for all community. How will a new leader know what this means? It will have to modeled by a coach or mentor. Remember, whatever you want to happen at the member level will have to be experienced by the leader first.
2. I will lead an exemplary Christian lifestyle—group members watching me will see an obedient servant of Jesus Christ growing in maturity. How will this happen? The expectation that this will happen outside of ministry leadership modeling servant leadership is pure fantasy.
3. I will convene my group regularly (2 to 4 times a month). For members of a group to truly experience what it means to have the sense of family, to grow spiritually, to have impact … being together will be the norm.
4. I will provide personalized care and development for each of my members, using the Spiritual Health Assessment and Spiritual Health Planner. A level of intentionality will pervade the experience.
5. I will assist in the identification and development of potential Life Group Leaders within my group. This doesn’t just happen … at least very often. It must be modeled. It must be built in to the culture.
6. I will maintain great communication with the Community Life team. We are stronger together. We work better as a team. Everyone benefits when small group leaders acknowledge their role in the larger community.
7. I will gather with the other Life Group Leaders in my coaching huddle for training and encouragement. We all need to pay attention to the examples of the leaders just ahead of us. We also need to meet the needs of the leaders just behind us. Although it is countercultural, we need each other and we are in this together.
8. I will attend scheduled gatherings for training and encouragement (i.e., Lead Well and the Fall Host Rally). Again, we are all part of a larger community. We weren’t made to stand alone. We were made to do this together.
Here’s the key: If you want your small group leaders to do more than open their home, facilitate a discussion, or convene a meeting … you need to implement a leadership pathway and a very early step is to introduce a set of commitments.
Feel free to take these commitments and adapt them to fit your context. As I’ve noted before, I’m sure that Carl George and Brett Eastman played a part in the origin of these 8 commitments. I’ve been using these basic ideas for so long I can’t remember exactly where I stole them..
Two additional resources that will help you develop your own commitments are Steve Gladen’s Small Groups with Purpose and Bill Donahue’s Leading Life-Changing Small Groups. I highly recommend them.