As I wrote Monday's post, I tried very hard to imagine the days ahead. I read the reports Barna is producing (you can sign up for their updates right here). I'm always reading the latest book by David Kinnaman, Gabe Lyons, or James Emery White (see below for some recommendations).
I want to be a learner; a student. And I want to be a wise steward of what God has given me (and given me to do).
I've also had the strong sense (for many years) that while Jesus' teaching in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-27) can be applied to everyone, they have sobering implications for leaders. And for leaders of leaders.
Since we are stewarding people, I believe we must understand the times and we must be looking ahead.
I'm more than a little concerned by Jesus' teaching in Matthew 16:
“When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
And I don't want to keep it to myself because at some level I think I'm responsible to pass on what I'm learning. As Andy Stanley has said, "As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else's cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours.”
Four Keys to Preparing for the Future of Small Group Ministry
1. Actively train your coaches and leaders to skillfully communicate biblical truth in a language the culture can understand.
This is a non-negotiable. As the culture races to biblical illiteracy we must actively train leaders to speak the lingua franca. Just like the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill, we need to be able to communicate in a way that makes sense in a post-Christian culture.
2. Make being others centered and loving your neighbor as yourself the centerpiece of your ministry.
If we want our ministries to be anything other than a warm and cozy fortress for the already convinced, we must be ever on the lookout for natural opportunities to prioritize the needs and interests of the community.
3. Focus your effort on doing TO and FOR your leaders what you want them to do TO and FOR their members.
This should always be front-of-mind. Making disciples is an organic process that is contagious and communicable. If we are not doing the right things TO and FOR our leaders, we can hardly expect leaders to do the right things TO and FOR their members.
4. Begin decentralizing the majority of your leader development and encouragement.
If you haven't already begun, now is the time to make the change from centralized to decentralized leadership development and encouragement. Develop and encourage your coaches in huddles where they live or work. Equip your coaches to do the same thing with the leaders they shepherd.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
- Good Faith: Must Read from David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
- The Next Christians: A Book You Should Definitely Be Reading
- The Rise of the Nones: A Must Read
Image by Michael Levine-Clark