Small group leader burnout is a devastating experience. When group leaders exit the ministry, groups lose their shepherd and potential new leaders lose the opportunity to be taught by a seasoned leader. But if small group leaders follow the suggestions below, they will able to stay in the game.
Give away responsibilities
Anyone with too much to do feels overwhelmed and seldom does anything very well. As you give away responsibilities to group members you will be more apt to continue to lead the group, other leaders will grow, and the work will get done better.
Pray daily for group members
You burn out when you believe you’re responsible for the spiritual transformation of your group members. God is the One who grows His children. Praying for each group member by name daily is a constant reminder that God is the One who challenges and changes people.
Use your co-leaders
Too many group leaders have co-leaders but seldom give them responsibility. Give your co-leaders the opportunity to lead often, especially when your world is moving too fast. They will grow because of it and you’ll have a chance to breathe.
Don’t host the meeting at your house
One of the greatest mistakes a small group leader can make is hosting the small group meeting at his or her own home every week. The leader then must shepherd group members throughout the week, prepare for the meeting, clean house, clean up after the meeting, and maybe prepare the snack or meal. This would burn anyone out. Don’t do it. Hosting is a great way to get others involved.
Don’t try to be the group’s resident theologian
Allowing others to seek out the answers to difficult questions is good for them. Let them know where the resources are and let them do the work. They’ll grow in their knowledge of Scripture because of it and you’ll have one more thing off your plate.
Take turns leading the Bible study conversation
In a healthy group, leading a Bible study discussion is not rocket science. Let people know they’ll have their opportunity to lead. The conversations at pursueGOD.org are easy to use.
Living in crisis mode is a sure fire way to burnout. It creates tension that will cause you to question whether or not you have the time or talent to lead a group. By planning ahead you will alleviate the inner tension that can lead you to doubt your role as a small group leader.
Ask your coach for help
No one ever intended for you to go it alone. When you have a difficult decision to make or a situation that is really hard, gain wisdom from your small group coach (or pastor). It will relieve your tension, give you an objective view of the situation, and may unearth a new path to follow.
Leading a small group isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding and impactful. Choose something from this list that will help keep you doing it – and doing it well – for a long time.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- How you would define “burnout”? What are some signs that a small group leader is feeling burned out?
- What is the most helpful solution in this list? Explain.
- What other suggestions would you make that aren’t on the list? Explain.
- What are some factors that make it hard to let group members shoulder more responsibility? Explain.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.