There are many 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. Click To Tweet
Suggestion: Read each of the 10 practices as you would a statement or verse you plan to mull over and chew on. As you read each statement, it might be appropriate to ask a couple questions: (A) If this is how Jesus led his small group, what needs to change in the way I lead my small group, and (B) What will need to be true about my small group ministry for our small group leaders to lead this way?
10 Practices I Need to Learn from Jesus the small group leader.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Jesus didn't have an apprentice or co-leader.
Yes, He did seem to invest more in three of them. Technically, he was leading a turbo group, 11 of them ended up leading their own groups.
4. Jesus developed His group members with a 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.
5. 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!).
6. What happened between Jesus' meetings with the disciples was as important as the meeting itself.
What happened on the way and in between was as important (or more important) than the meetings themselves. What happened in their meetings was often to talk about what happened along the way.
7. 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, you have to wonder if it was near the center of his impact strategy?
8. 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.
9. Jesus set aside his rights to take care of his members (Philippians 2:3-8).
How often do I take care of me first?
10. 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).
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.
Image by Richard Foo TH