There are several obvious ‘givens’ when becoming a SG leader:
be a Christ follower, lead Bible study, host a meeting often, be nice, pray, …but what about the “Wow, I never thought about that” practical things we need to know. Here are five which we feel need to constantly be communicated to help keep the Small Group alive and focused:
1. What is success? We talk often about the three objectives of our small group ministry: Care, Community and Foundational Bible study. Small Groups at Lifepoint are the place to be cared for and care for others. This is the place we can get to know each other and build a feeling of community where we can grow to be transparent and accountable. These help make the foundational Bible study more personal and teachable.
2. What am I doing? You are a disciple who is making disciples. To help you in that we have developed a Christ Centered Journey map which shows the stages of a person’s spiritual walk with books, practices, and scripture to enable growth at each stage. Here is the Christ Centered Journey outline.
3. How do I evaluate our group’s growth? LifePoint’s Grouplife wrote a Small Group Health Survey a few years ago and encourage every small group to take the survey at least once, preferably twice, a year. The survey is based on our 5 Expectations which LifePoint partners with every member/attendee to help experience transformation. This survey shows the weak areas of health for the group and directs the leader to our resource center for their next study. Other tools we have used are Lifeway’s Spiritual Growth Assessment and the Transformational Discipleship Assessment is also available.
4. What is my role? You are a shepherd (1 Kings 22:17) who needs to calendar ahead. Our experience shows that many groups suffer by not planning. They wake up Friday and text/email group members asking if they would like to meet Sunday. That is too late! Don’t plan by the week, plan by the month. Plan your Bible study times, party/events and service opportunities for the next month, now. People can usually rearrange their schedules to give priority to small group if they have enough notice. To shepherd you need to pray for each member of your group, by name, often. One practice we have is “2 minutes a day and pray on the way.” Shepherds not only pray for members, they help each other live out the Bible as they guide them on the Christ Centered Journey.
5. How do share what God is doing in our Group? Sharing stories is vitally important to small group life and community. Lifepoint’s Groups shares stories via the weekly Communication Report which allows for stories, attendance, service projects and prayer requests…weekly. Our staff hear how God is at work in our community and leaders are reminded to stay focused on the goal. (See #1 above)
What foundational principles would you add?