Leading a Home Group: The Small Group Leader (2) Oversight
Please refer to the first article on the three qualities of a small group leader. This article focuses on the overview of what a small group leader does in his/her oversight. It is the philosophy of a small group leader (SGL) in his oversight of the Home Group he is leading. Consider these nine principles.
First, the small group leader cares for people. He/she genuinely cares for people as a shepherd, first through listening and then through encouraging and exhorting. He has the attitude of a nursing mother for her infant and the exhorting father for his children (1 Thess. 2:6-12). He realizes the Home Group is not about him, but about each person he is trying to lead in their spiritual journey with Jesus. He cares so much that he doesn’t want people to remain where they are.
Secondly, he plans the group meetings. He is a good steward of the time and relationships, knowing that the end goal is to help people grow spiritually who want to grow (1 Cor. 14:40). He doesn’t just show up and wing it. He prays, studies and plans how best to use the time, so that people have a sense of learning, flow in the meeting, accomplishment and relational interaction. He considers others who can be involved.
Thirdly, he intentionally disciples people. He knows that discipleship doesn’t happen by accident (Matt. 28:19-20). He considers the spiritual walk of others and walks them through the process of how they might be involved in the group process. Living like a spiritual parent, he sees the person as God sees him and has ideas and plans on how to help them grow spiritually.
Fourthly, he leads a dynamic discussion. He facilitates the discussion to enable others to talk and grow. He is going to make comments and ask questions that involve most of the people and causes them to dig deeper in their considerations of passages and topics (Acts 2:37-42). He affirms responses and helps people have fun in discussing Scripture.
Fifthly, he is an active listener. He actively responds to comments made, affirming whenever he can so that people are encouraged to participate in the discussion (John 10:27). Active listening seeks clarification if there is a question or possible misunderstanding. Sometimes active listening demonstrates interest in the person and his comments. The small group leader often does more listening than talking in a home group meeting.
Sixthly, he listens to understand. He is careful about jumping to conclusions about what is said, so that he fully understands the comments and he fully seeks to reach the person’s heart. It’s easy to respond to what we don’t understand. It is a careful, deliberate leader, who is patient and listens to understand the heart of a dear soul trying to grow in their relationship with Jesus (Matt 9:36).
Seventhly, he assumes godliness in conflict. He believes the best about people and when there is conflict, he prepares his thoughts in his head, affirms the relationship with the person, listens to understand the “other” side, seeks possible resolutions and then evaluates the resolutions to see if they are working. He realizes the people in the conflict are far more important than trying to establish “his own truth.” He acts the part of a spiritual parent and is more concerned with the relationship of the “wrong” person. Consequently, he listens to understand and then seek win/win resolutions. He accepts that the process may take an inordinate amount of time, but the resolution that produces unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace is more important than a personal victory (Matt. 18:15-17; Eph. 4:1-3).
Eighthly, he is accountable to others. He willingly is accountable to the small group structure and he asks for accountability from coaches and others on how to better communicate and disciple people. Humble people willingly become accountable to others (1 Pet. 5:5).
Finally, he shares leadership. He is more concerned about the continuance of the group than his right to lead the group. Small groups do not have very many people, but no leader should be alone in leading. He always ought to have another leader couple who can stand in the gap and give observations, counsel and suggested resolutions to challenges that arise. He is always looking for opportunities to lead with others or train others to be his/her replacements (Col. 4:7-13).
These principles will provide a fruitful ministry as a Small Group leader. Leadership is not about the leader. Leadership is about the Lord working through the leader to stir up people to love and good works (Heb. 10:24). God the Holy Spirit will empower a leader to be a spiritual parent in the Home Group creating a nest that flourishes with care, concern and commitment.