There are a number of things we can know about Jesus the small group leader just by reading the New Testament, particularly the gospels. And there are at least 10 practices that I need to learn:
- Jesus invited men from the crowd who weren’t already connected. Isn’t this counterintuitive? How often are we taught to put our time into high capacity leaders from the core? Curiously, that’s not what Jesus did. Why do you think that was? I believe the 12 may have been more connected to the crowd and community than the core. See also, The 12 Were Not Chosen from the Core and Important Keys to GroupLife at Crowd’s Edge.
- Jesus’ group began as a free market small group (net fishing was the affinity!). Not a bad way to begin. At least initially, they seemed to invite each other. See also, An Analysis of the Free Market Small Group System.
- Jesus didn’t have an apprentice or co-leader. Technically, he was leading a turbo group. See also, Small Group Leaders: Finding, Recruiting and Developing.
- Jesus developed his members with this 5 step process: (1) I do, you watch. (2) I do, you help. (3) You do, I help, we talk. (4) You do, I watch, we talk. (5) You do, someone else watches. See also, Exponential: How to Accomplish the Jesus Mission.
- Their curriculum was frequently rehashing what Jesus had just taught on the mountain or by the lake (making Jesus’ group the first sermon-based small group!). See also, An Analysis of the Sermon Based Small Group System.
- Their primary meeting environment was a third place. Their meetings were as much or more about what happened in between and on the way.
- Once he formed the group, Jesus spent more time with the members of his group than anyone else (including his family). I know this is a challenging and countercultural observation. And yet…is it near the center of his impact strategy?
- Jesus was intentional with his group members, challenging and encouraging them. He had a preferred future, an end-in-mind for them. He loved each of them. He called out their failings and cast vision for what they would become (Matthew 16:18, Matthew 19:28, Matthew 16:23, Matthew 20:20-28). See also, The End in Mind for My Ideal Group.
- Jesus set aside his rights to take care of his members (Philippians 2:3-8). How often do I take care of me first? See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader.
- Jesus set aside time with God to recharge and recalibrate. He operated with clear priorities and understood his need for the power that can only come from time with God (Mark 1:35). See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader.
I don’t know about you…but looking at this list I am clearly not there. I want to be. But I’m not. Thankfully, I have learned from Paul that I can be thankful I am no longer what I used to be and moving forward to what I will be one day (Philippians 3:12-14).
What do you think? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.