Leading a small group isn’t just about guiding a discussion or sharing prayer requests. Making disciples means taking the initiative to develop the people in your group to go full circle in their pursuit of God.

Develop people who care

Small groups are a great place to live out God’s plan for relationships.

Colossians 3:12-15 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.

To build a group that cares in this way, you need to care first. But it’s also vital that you encourage and coach the people in your group to care for one another.

Develop disciples who mentor others

A mature disciple is someone who goes “full circle” through three stages of Christian growth.

  • We start by trusting Jesus.
  • We live to honor God.
  • We mature by helping others – especially by helping others pursue God.

This is the process and goal that defines what you are seeking to develop in the members of your group – disciples who make disciples.

2 Timothy 2:2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

The first step is to mentor others in the group. As a leader, you care about everyone, but you only have time and energy to mentor a few. In a phone call or appointment outside the group’s regular meeting, you come alongside others one-on-one to help them pursue God – as taught in Mentor Training.

The next step is to equip group members to mentor others. Explain often that every disciple makes disciples. Start by taking your co-leaders through Mentor Training, then train others in the group. Your group will prosper as people start mentoring others.

Develop team members who lead

No leader should lead alone. Even Jesus built a team (Luke 8:1-3). We all need what others contribute.

Ecclesiasties 4:9-12 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Knowing all the benefits from working alongside others, make it a priority to recruit and build a team to lead the group with you.

You develop co-leaders by sharing ministry with them. It’s often easier to do it yourself. But sharing leadership makes the group better. It creates a sense of ownership. It employs the strengths of more people. It prepares the group to reproduce one day. Your success as a leader is not measured just by how well you manage your group, but by how well you prepare others to lead.

Two kinds of meetings will help you develop your team. First, meet regularly as a team. Evaluate and plan together, make assignments, and do some training. (Use the Team Meeting Planner and the Group Schedule Planner to help.) Second, mentor you co-leaders individually, as they will each need different conversations. When you meet, use Mentor Training, Small Group Training, and the many leadership and small group conversations at pursueGOD.org.

Remember, it’s not about just holding meetings. It’s about making disciples who make disciples. That involves a commitment to developing people.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Describe a time when you were part of a successful team (sports, work, arts, etc.). What did the leader do to make the team effective?
  4. Think of a good group you have attended. Read Colossians 3:12-16. What did the leader do to create that kind of care? What did the members do?
  5. As you start mentoring people in your group, who would you begin with, and why?
  6. How will it benefit your group as the members learn to start mentoring others?
  7. Identify some challenges that make it hard for leaders to share ministry responsibility with others.
  8. What steps did someone once take to help you develop as a leader?
  9. What situations would require extra conversations or meetings with your co-leaders? With your coach or pastor?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

Ministry Tools: