Your church’s ministry may include small groups where the congregation is cared for in intimate settings. But what if your small-group leaders seem ill-equipped to care for the people in their groups? Thom Corrigan, founder and director of Pilgrimage/ NavPress Training Group (www.pilgrimage.org) says we can teach by example. “As we care for our leaders we have the opportunity to model a loving, supportive and corrective relationship that will affect many lives,” says Corrigan. “Offering leaders authentic accountable relationships provides them with protection and safety and reinforces the value of caring for people.”
Corrigan suggests these ways to care for and feed your small group leaders:
- Learn what’s going on in your leaders’ lives spiritually and relationally. Learn their strengths and weaknesses. “You can’t coach from a distance,” Corrigan notes. “This takes up-close and personal involvement.” You must be open and honest if you expect your group leaders to be open and honest with you.
- Pray for your leaders and the situations they’re facing in their groups. Corrigan says, “Praying regularly encourages your leaders’ hearts and builds their trust in you.”
- Get to know each leader’s family, occupation and history. As you get to know your group leaders you can better discuss their needs for character development and leadership skills.
- Visit their Small Groups and affirm their Leadership qualities. Being built up in front of the people they care for will challenge them to form even deeper relationships. Observing their Group meetings will also equip you to follow up later.
The more authentic your concern for your leaders the more effective your modeling will become. “One small group coordinator did an amazing job of caring for her leaders,” Corrigan says. “She saw the value of caring in authentic ways for her leaders and she effectively modeled Jesus’ heart to her people.”