By Michael C. Mack
This is perhaps the busiest time of the year for small group leaders. If you oversee the groups in your church, you’re probably a couple weeks into a fall campaign. If you lead a group, you’re gearing back up for the fall. Either way, where do you go from here? Here are four simple encouragements.
1. Pray! Leaders can get so busy this time of year that their time with God gets crowded out. Don’t let it happen! Right now you should be spending more, not less, time with God. Pray for your group. If you lead the group ministry, pray for your leaders. Pray for those on the outside who need Jesus and the redemptive community of a group.
2. Trust God (and you can do this only if you’ve done the previous step). Don’t run ahead of him. Don’t forget that the ministry is his; he is the real leader. You are blessed to partner with him, but never forget who the senior partner is!
3. Keep planning for the long term. Just because your groups have launched does not mean you can now relax in your planning. In fact, it’s vital that you plan now for what’s next. Churches and groups that are the most healthy and successful are like expert chess players: they are thinking several moves ahead. Once your groups have finished this initial four to six weeks, what will come next? What will they need to study to help them grow? How will they serve? How will they invite more people in?
4. Be thankful. Thank God for all he is doing in and through you, your ministry, and your church. Take time to thank leaders for following God’s calling on their lives to shepherd those he has put in their care. Thank new people in groups for perhaps stepping out of their comfort zones (some of these folks may be future leaders, so build bridges now and watch what God does in their lives). You don’t have to wait until November to be thankful!