Being a small group leader is great and scary at the same time. I took a group of guys from freshman year to senior year. It was great, but there were some things I had to learn to be okay with throughout the four years that I wish I knew at the beginning. It would’ve helped me shape the group better. Some of the things I had to learn to be okay with were great and others kind of came with the territory. Knowing these ten things now will definitely benefit my next group. So I thought I’d share my learnings.
1. Be okay with it being more than bible study.
I thought I would be just doing a study and hanging out with some dudes. Little did I know, doing life together bonds you together like family. Even though they are all at different colleges, some local and some out of state, they know that I’m here for them if they ever need me. Love my boys.
2. Be okay with just planting seeds.
I had guys in my group that came and left and I felt like they never fully got what I was trying to teach them. It would get me down at times. I had to remember that I’m called to plant the seeds of God’s word and God changes the heart. I must be okay with just planting seeds and trusting that God will produce the harvest.
3. Be okay with students joining and leaving.
Whether it be because of a friend who’s joining another group or the season of the student’s life is super busy and they have to take a season off of small group, there is a chance students will leave. Tip: Celebrate the students who join and don’t take it personally when someone leaves. Make sure the door is always open for them to return.
4. Be okay with your life changing.
My guys pushed me to be the example they needed me to be. I can’t tell you how much my life has changed because of my small group guys. They pushed me to really study God’s word, be a man of prayer, and be a better husband/father. Tip: expect God to change your life for the better.
5. Be okay with being interrupted.
There will be times that your small group will need you to be there during a time of crisis. From death in the family to them making some huge mistakes and needing advice, know that they will need you at times unplanned.
6. Be okay with not knowing what to say or do.
You will feel this way at times, but it’s okay. It’s actually the best place to be when it pushes you to lean on God and seek His wisdom. I lived in this area during my first year leading a small group.
7. Be okay with students being there for different reasons.
Some are there to be challenged in their faith and others are there just to hang with friends. I’ve had several of those types of students and all I can say is be patient and trust God. I’ve seen students who were all about just hanging out one year and helping start a Christian club at their school the next year. So be confident in God’s ability to change their direction.
8. Be okay with having your faith stretched and strengthened.
Nothing stretches and strengthens your faith like a bunch of students trying to learn and grow in their walk with Christ. I’ve seen God show up so many times in my guy’s life that it has strengthened my faith. I would study and teach things I thought I knew very well, until one of the guys would ask a great question that would challenge my thinking on the subject. Little did I know, God was using my group to stretch and grow my faith in Him. He will definitely do the same for you.
9. Be okay with keeping parents on task.
Communicate to the parents what you expect of them in a loving and supportive way and address issues quickly as they arise. TIP: If you want parents there on time, be there to greet them when they pull up every time. If you want them to pick up on time, end on time and greet them for pickup.
10. Be okay with knowing you will make mistakes and/or fail.
You are not perfect and no one is expecting you to be. There will be things you will try to do that will not work out. You will make mistakes and/or fail at times. It’s okay and we’ve all been there. The goal is to learn from your mistakes and failures and minimize the return of the two in the same area.
What are some other things small group leaders have to be okay with leading a group?