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.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.