The goal of the home group leader is to glorify God. One of the best ways to do that is to help people spiritually mature to become spiritual parents. That means helping people lead others. Other articles discuss how to help people lead by hosting, follow-up, or providing snacks, so this is how to help someone lead in facilitating the discussion.
Most people are afraid of death and public speaking (which some prefer the former!). Even in a home group setting, which is not public speaking, people get very nervous and do not consider themselves able to lead. Their fear is primarily based on the fear of failure or doing something “not quite right.” Home groups are designed to be an environment where people can fail in a safe environment and still be affirmed to try again. We often learn the most when we fail, especially when there is a warm safety net of support. A survey reports that 87% of people struggle with the fear of failure (okay, so I made the percentage up, but it’s probably up there!) Here are several principles to consider in helping people lead.
Look for Opportunities for Others to Lead
As a home group leader, give up the floor to potential leaders to lead. In the first few weeks of any segment of the schedule, you want to establish your credibility to lead and develop momentum within the group. However, after a few weeks have gone by, be proactive in putting other men in place to lead. You may not have someone, but if you do, “come alongside” of him. You might first ask him to lead the prayer time, and even give him more than a week’s notice, so he will pay more attention to how you lead it. It is very normal for people to watch something happen and then when they are asked to lead, they forget the order. For example, I’ll ask men to lead in communion at church. Once in a while, you can tell that they did not think it through, because they will leave out a normal step in the sequence. That is normal when they are doing it the first or second time through. The same is true for leading in the home group.
Give them what they can handle, but what stretches them
Give them what they can handle, but stretch them, so they will depend on the Lord. If they can do it in their own strength without depending on the Lord, then they need to be doing more. If they lead in prayer, then have them to follow-up. If they have done that, then have them lead facilitating the questions.
Give them clear instructions on what they should do
If you give them clear instructions, they will be more confident and less likely to make it up as they go or they will become frustrated because they get confused sitting in the “hot seat.” It’s not hot, of course, but people often feel under pressure when they begin to lead – I know I did. Tell them when they will start and when you want them to wind things up. Tell them how much time to spend on certain sections and to emphasize the application, for example. You are not micromanaging, you are discipling. Whn they are leading their own group they can follow these guidelines as the Holy Spirit leads within your limits.
Give them an out to refuse
Some people need to be able to opt out from leading. That is okay. Some men are not ready to lead or they have too many commitments at the time. Give them an out to say no. If their heart is not ready, then do not push them. You may change their behavior, but they may build resistance in their heart. Challenge is good, but pushing is not.
Give them an opportunity to lead in another way
If the person doesn’t want to lead, give them an opportunity to lead in another way. If they do not want to lead in the prayer time, ask if they would like to do an opening. If he does not want to do an opening, you could approach him later and ask if he’d like to do follow-up. The purpose is not to get people working as much as it is to get people growing.
Give them an opportunity to lead at another time
If a person does not want to lead, then the timing may not be right, so give them an opportunity to lead at another time. People can be “buried,” because of a season, or job responsibilities, or challenges raising children, or something else. If the timing is not good for the person, then wait. Consider how long God waited on you to get to the point where you are in your spiritual walk!
Helping people lead is all about Intentional Discipleship. If my goal is to help people grow to the spiritual parent level, then I, as a home group leader, will be looking for ways and opportunities to help people take the risk, maybe even fail, and develop confidence. Discipleship is intentional, not accidental.