In a healthy small group, everyone has a role to play. Group members do not passively wait for the leader to do everything. Group leaders look for ways to involve everyone at some appropriate level to serve in the group.
Evaluate your needs
Start by making a list of all the common tasks and responsibilities that make your group work. For example, somebody has to host the group. If your group has snacks, someone has to bring them. If you share prayer requests, someone facilitates that sharing. Someone else may keep a list and/or send out a reminder e-mail. Everything your group does – from the weekly Bible discussion to special social events – generates opportunities to give people a role to play.
Don’t forget mentoring
Besides the practical duties that keep a group functioning from week to week, every group is also a disciple making community. Everyone in the group can mentor someone else – once they have been trained. This is the definition of maturity: helping others pursue God. As you integrate mentoring into your group life, it will make a difference.
Figure out who can do what
Think about the gifts, personalities and interests of people in your group. Then approach people with an invitation to participate. The person in the group who cares most about prayer might want to help lead the prayer time. An active, fun-loving person might want to help plan social outings. Remember, everyone can mentor someone else – regardless of abilities or personality. Do this together with your leadership team. Use the Group Schedule Planner to help you stay organized.
When you approach someone to invite them to serve, start small. Offer a one-time responsibility or something fairly limited. This gives people a chance to prove themselves, to develop confidence, and to test whether the assignment is a good fit. Don’t give too much responsibility too soon. When someone proves faithful and competent, offer a larger role.
Make sure the expectations are clear about what you expect them to do, how often, and how long. Write it down if necessary. Encourage them to ask questions. Make sure they know how to do what you’re asking them to do. If you have an experienced person doing a task, invite someone new to come alongside to learn the ropes. This is not redundant or a duplication. It will help your group reproduce a new group some day.
Help people know how they’re doing. Express appreciation. Acknowledge good ideas and a job well done. If there is a problem, deal with it right away. If they don’t show up, or aren’t prepared, you need to have a conversation without delay. If you don’t address it, you just trained that person that being irresponsible doesn’t matter. Giving feedback is an important way to help people grow.
What you can expect
Sometimes people will not respond to the opportunity to serve. Don’t be disappointed or give up. They may respond later. And many will respond, resulting in two great outcomes. First, those people will grow in their own pursuit of God as they serve. Second, the group will become more healthy and ready to start new groups, because you will be developing potential future leaders.
- 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?
- What are some reasons why group leaders don’t share ministry responsibilities with group members?
- Is there any responsibility in the life of a small group that a leader cannot or should not give away? Explain.
- Talk about an assignment you’ve had (in any aspect of life) that you were not equipped for. What happened?
- Talk about an assignment you were given where no one gave you any feedback. What happened?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.