Saturday, March 25, 2017

Leaders Set the Example: Be Vulnerable, Don't Be Super-Christians and Builld Trust

You can set the example by sharing your own personal needs and problems with those in your group. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that we should boast in our weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon us (not the negative or fake humility kind). When we are open about areas of struggle we have had and share how the Lord has given us grace and strength to conquer by His Word, it causes us to be transparent. By making ourselves ‘perfect’ Christian, we open ourselves to the enemy in the area of pride. People we are serving feel as though they are with super-Christian and they will be close.

I asked the small group Bible Study members one day if anyone had any difficulties they were facing that the group could pray with them about. Everyone said they were fine. Then I took a few minutes and shared some difficulties in my own lives and asked for prayer. Amazingly, everyone in the group had a personal prayer requests! By being vulnerable, the others in the group then felt free to be open with their lives.

We can minister much effectively by showing the people in our group what the Word of God says rather than by giving then our own opinions. If you don’t have the answer, don’t fake it. Tell them honestly that you don’t know but that you will help them find the answer. Leaders should not give strong advice or correction to a person they do not know very well (unless they are clearly led by the Holy Spirit). Much patience is needed before attempting to correct someone’s faults. Simply continue to love and care from them, and many times they will come to you for advice and help. They will see in you an example of how they themselves want to be.

True leaders will take time – all the time that is necessary – to build good, trusting relationships with people. We must build relationships not only within the setting of the group meeting, but also outside the meeting as well. Through informal time spent in social interaction outside of the meeting context, the time will eventually come when you will feel free to speak into the lives of the people in your group because of the trust that has been established. If you don’t have a relationship with the people in your group, it will be very difficult for them to receive advice or correction or teaching from you. Think about it.


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Small-Group Leader is to Encourage Others, Not to Bring People Down

Hebrews 3:13 tells us to encourage one another daily. This is one of the important qualifications for a small-group leader – a willingness to encourage others (besides humble, willing to pray for others, personable and easy to approach, enthusiastic, and filled with the Spirit). We can all encourage someone else; and when we sow encouragement, we will eventually reap what we sow! This happens often outside the actual small-group meeting. Even a text message of encouragement to someone in your small-group can make all the difference for them. Everyone gets discouraged at times. Everyone needs friend who truly cares, who will listen and understand him or her. Hey, relationships take time to build.

A true leader has a servant’s heart and is willing to take the time needed to be knit with the people in his/her small group. Just as it takes several weeks for a broken bone to heal and knit together, so too it takes time for relationships in the group to be knit together. The church is built together through relationships: “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).

New Christians especially need regular encouragement and nurturing because they are like soils that need good seeds. Maturity doesn’t happen overnight.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Small-Group Leader as Servanthood Model

Jesus is our role model for leadership. He was and is the greatest leader who ever lived. He led by being a servant to all those around Him. He knew who He was because of His intimate relationship with His Father, and out of that relationship He ministered to the needs of individuals. He was secure and He was free to serve as a leader – a servant-leader. Two most important values of a servant leader: #1 Secure in God’s love, doesn’t demand for respect or approval from others; and #2 Freedom in Christ, free to serve without force or half-heartedness. In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus warned His disciples not to be influenced (maybe they were) by the leadership patterns of the Gentiles. Jesus, however, explain to them that leadership in the kingdom of God is servanthood.

An attitude of serving is the key to servant leadership when leading a small group Bible Study. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says that “whatever we do for one of the least” of His brothers and sisters – His disciples – we do for Him. In Matthew 9:36 too we see Jesus’ compassion for the people. His attitude was always to serve. Leadership must have the same heart attitude to serve.

A true Christian leader is a servant and has an intimate relationship with the Father, having a faith-action, humble and being totally dependent on the Lord Jesus. I often observes a true leader when he or she is not in the spotlight before and after Christian fellowship in campuses and outside. I also saw a true leader serve whenever he or she finds an opportunity. There are countless ways we can serve others in a small group. We are modelling servanthood by being willing to lead a small group or assist a small-group leader.

Don’t look at numbers – small-group is better. Here we all can learn to serve and to be served by others. 


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