I've written many times about the needless search for Jesus Jr. as prerequisite for effective small group leadership. In fact, I've argued that Jesus seems to have chosen his disciples despite the fact that they didn't already seem to be on a leadership track.
So if we're to recruit small group leaders in a way that doesn't require them to meet Jesus Jr. standards, it's reasonable to ask, "How will we help small group leaders move in the direction of our preferred future for leaders?"
My argument is that we need to help them build the habits that will take them there.
I've written recently about the 8 Commitments for Small Group Leaders as well as how to design your group meeting for life-change; two helpful angles from which to think about building a thriving small group ministry. But what about the habits that help create the kind of man or woman who operates as an agent of life-change?
The 8 habits of a life-changing small group leader.
Life-changing small group leaders:
1. Make time with God a daily priority. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35 NIV
2. Follow the best example and offer a good example. "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV
3. Have clear priorities. "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
4. Put the interests of others ahead of their own. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
5. Know they haven't arrived. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Philippians 3:12 NIV
6. Clear up relationships. "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." Matthew 5:23-24
7. Give and receive scriptural correction. "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13 NIV
8. Follow spiritual leadership (within scriptural limits) and make it a joy for their leaders. "Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you." Hebrews 13:17 NIV
Are these habits prerequisite to beginning? Not in the least. Instead, they become the preferred future of a life-changing small group leader. Can you imagine a better destination?
How do you help small group leaders move in the right direction? Help them build the habits that will take them there.
Although many people have influenced my thinking, I have to acknowledge Harold Bullock and Hope Church in Fort Worth, Texas and their heart attitudes.
Image by Tez Goodyer
What do you think? Have one to add? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.