Everything is built on leadership. Jesus is the ultimate leader, who knew what He was doing and followed through with it regardless of the cost or depth of the valley. A home group leader doesn’t have to be as good of leader as Jesus, but there are several characteristics that will help every leader of home groups. Let me highlight five.
First, every leader, or disciple-maker, must have “confidence to love.” It is the great commandment Jesus said was imperative. He said,
37 Jesus said to him, “`You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and great commandment. 39 “And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:37-39 NKJ)
He also said love was the new commandment the disciples needed to live in order to show the world who they were,
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 NKJ)
Confidence to love often includes a risk. That recognizes there will be many who will reject your efforts to lead, just as Jesus was rejected. It means that people will not understand your good intentions to disciple them to the next spiritual stage of growth, just as Jesus was misunderstood. It means that people will question your intentions and motivations, just as they questioned Jesus. But confidence to love means you continue to shepherd your home group and see them as sheep, who need a shepherd.
Secondly, every leader must have “humility to learn.” Leaders need to learn from the Lord and His Word and from Coaches, other leaders, as well as from the people he is leading. Paul described the life-long learning of a committed follower of Jesus, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15 NKJ) Diligence is the pursuit of growing spiritually in relationship with Jesus. It is a life-long pursuit of knowing Him as Paul described,
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:10-14 NKJ)
Humility to learn means you are interested in what all the attendees are saying, even the new ones, because you never know when God is going to use someone to teach. The Lord used a donkey to teach Balaam; would He not also use even new people to teach you principles about Himself? Humility means the leader is ready to receive.
Thirdly, every leader must have an “excitement to listen.” There are few pictures more true that those painted of the Lord Jesus who is looking into the eyes of a child joyfully expressing herself with other children all around Him. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” (John 10:14 NKJ) Jesus knows His sheep, because He is deeply interested in them. What do grandparents do when they are around their grandchildren? They are all ears, listening to everything that child is saying – and they do it with intensity of focus and excitement! Friends, that’s what a home group leader does with people also. They intensely listen to people talking, because they deeply care and are concerned about their spiritual growth. They are fearlessly concerned about shoveling out a specific measure of content. Yes, leaders have an excitement to listen.
Fourthly, every leader has a “vision to lead.” Without a vision, the people perish is the oft-quoted Proverb 29:18 (KJV). Yes, the leader looks down the road to where people could be in a month or a year and encourages the person’s potential to pursue the Lord and step up to the next spiritual level. If the leader looks at where the people are today, that could be very discouraging to both the person and the group. Leaders need to look at people like God looks at Christians – already glorified!
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom. 8:29-30 NKJ)
Vision to lead others is crucial for being a great home group leader.
Fifthly, every leader needs to be “faithful to like” the people and what he is doing. Love and like are two different words. A leader loves when he denies himself and acts for others. You can love someone without liking them. When a leader likes someone, he enjoys being around him and will spend time with him to watch him grow spiritually. Many people will call this “fellowship,” which has been described as “two fellas on a ship.” John said, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 NKJ) When two growing believers spend time together, the blood of Jesus helps them grow together and enjoy their time together.
What is the leader’s attitude toward those in his group? It’s likely that the third is the most important, because people need to sense the leader is excited to listen to them. That will show the attendee he is loved and liked, will be lead and that the leader is humble enough to keep learning.