If you can learn to be better at these 5 things you will be a better small group leader:
Shepherding/leading a small group is a skill not a gift which is great news because this means you can get better at it! Your giftedness will be expressed in different ways as you lead.
SKILL #1: The skill of vision casting and vision speaking– speaking vision into people- helping people have a larger and larger perspective of what God is doing in the world- a vision that it is not about me- its not about what pleases me
- Most people live very small lives focused on “me” and what is best for “me”
- Really good small group leaders speak vision into people to help them gain a larger perspective. Here are five tips to do this:
- Be intentional about doing it
- This is one aspect of being a good mentor/leader- to make God’s will their primary concern
- Two mistakes leaders make is they overdraw their accounts with people-
- they are calling things out of them but they have not built up a bank account with people
- some people build up large accounts but never make withdrawals challenging and calling them into greater things
- A good group leader will look at everyone as someone potential to lead a small group and invests into them that way so they can step more and more into effectiveness
- A lot of times some people are so beaten down by the world around them that they cannot see themselves as doing anything meaningful for God
SKILL #2: Skill of processing– being able to process what is going on beyond what is going on -on the surface (skill of reading the room sometimes termed)- take a step back and view the room. (3 Tips to do so):
- Reading body language is a part of this-
- Active listening- James 1:19- true listening is proactive and requires all the senses-
- When conflict happens wondering what is really going on here
SKILL #3: Skill of relational intelligence (12 tips to do so):
- Earning the right to be heard- showing people you care so that they will be interested in what you say
- Influence is a lot of relational work. See Steve Saccone’s book Relational Intelligence: How Leaders Can Expand Their Influence Through a New Way of Being Smart
- Show them that you truly care about them
- Learn effective interpersonal skills and apply them
- A lot of leaders long to be influential but they do so at the cost of valuing people
- Some people know a lot about the Bible but lack the basic people skills to mobilize people- people don’t want to be viewed as a commodity- a means to an end
- When people whine or gripe- sometimes people just want to know that they are heard
- Investing time with people
- You have to motivate people more than ordering them around because you have some position
- If you don’t have a relationship with people all you will get out of them is external compliance.
- You can command peoples hands but you must win their heads and hearts
- Sometimes we put the perceived goal ahead of people not because we don’t care about people but we are energized by the mission- slow down and work on the relationship
SKILL #4: Think ahead and plan back (3 tips to do so):
- As a small group where do we need to be going for the next 6 months, 1 year, etc.
- Focus on a few particular members and what is their next step they need to take with God.
- Example- multiplication- plan to reproduce the group so others can experience the life change that comes with connecting in community – talk about it long before you need it- if a group multiplies at 18 months or 2 years talk about it at 6 months and onAnd then plan back to the steps and dates it is going to take for them to actually happen.
- Not canceling the group meeting just because YOU cant be there- it teaches people to think the leader is needed and that it can’t function without you.
- Delegating anything and everything you can- delegating individual pieces of your meeting.
- Choose a week and plan not to be at group on purpose to give others the opportunity to lead and step up- this takes intentional thought.
SKILL #5: The skill of releasing control (5 Tips to do so):
- Author Scott Boren stated, the way they had systematized things for their groups required 1 person to do 80% of the work and that person did everything – that way of approaching groups did not teach leaders to release control.
- How can we lead to increase ownership beyond just me as a leader- how do we get everyone in the group looking at each other for the success of the group.
- The more gifted or skilled you are- the more others look at you to lead and do- you have to learn to restrain yourself from doing it all and let others do things.
- Share ownership of snacks, hosting, (if someone falls through- don’t pick up the slack for them- if they don’t bring a snack- you just don’t have a snack that week).