Sunday Service:How To Be Confident & Victorious In Crisis

6 Critical Tasks For LifeGroup Leaders

    Apr 24, 2022 | by Mike Prah

    THE SIX BASIC TASKS OF LIFE GROUP LEADERS

    1. MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS: The why of LifeGroups
    2. BUILD COMMUNITY: The what of LifeGroups
    3. CARE FOR PEOPLE: The who of LifeGroups
    4. FACILITATE CONTRIBUTION: The how of LifeGroups
    5. RAISE LEADERS: The how many of LifeGroups
    6. LEAD YOURSELF WELL: The how long of LifeGroups

    1. MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS: The why of LifeGroups

    Matthew 4:19 – "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of people."

    A disciple of Jesus is someone who is…

    • Called by Jesus – ‘Come’
    • Closer to Jesus – ‘Follow me’
    • More like Jesus – ‘I will make you
    • On mission with Jesus – ‘fishers of people’

    James 1:22 – "Do not only be hearers of my Word, but doers also."

    At the heart of discipleship is equipping people with God’s Word. Therefore, LifeGroups must keep God’s Word central cannot disciple people. Jesus defined disciple-making as ‘teaching people to do everything he commanded’ (Matt 28:19).

    As a Christ-Centered, Bible-Teaching Church, FavorLife works hard to give people a balanced diet every year, a great overview of Christian truths every year – so it is strategic of the LifeGroup leader to use the sermon-based group guide. The goal as LifeGroup leaders is to close the gap between what people hear on Sunday and the lives we live on Monday.

    Sundays help you be a hearer of the Word,LifeGroup help you to be a do-er of God’s Word. We need both!

    2. BUILD COMMUNITY: The what of LifeGroups

    First reason for community: The Trinity

    John 17:22 – "I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one."

    Second reason for community: The Cross

    Ephesians 2:14 – "For Christ himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility"

    Third reason for community: The Command

    John 13:34 – "Love one another as I have loved you."

    • There are 57 ‘one anothers’ in the New Testament. The is just one of the those commands. Individualism is wrong. Listening to sermons and reading books is good, but incomplete. Discipleship only comes as you apply those Christian truths in the context of community, real relationships. Small groups are the place where we practice the one anothers.
    • The height of Christian spirituality is immersion in people.
    • LifeGroup leaders should introduce some practical things that facilitate the building of relationships – celebrating special moments in each other’s lives, hearing each other’s stories, having meal times, getting together outside the usual night and having a group activity together.

    3. CARE FOR PEOPLE: The who of LifeGroups

    Community is one thing, but caring for people going through a tough time takes it to another level.

    Hebrews 13:17 – "Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you."

    This verse speaks of the joy and responsibility of Pastors and LifeGroup leaders having a shepherding concern for people. LifeGroup leaders are to carry their people in prayer, and in love. Of all the people in the group you should do your best to know when people are going through a hard time, and do what you can to pray for them, listen to them, guide them and encourage them – and sometimes even challenge them.

    Notice the plurality of ‘leaders’. A good LifeGroup leader knows when to reacg out to the pastor for guidance and support. When you need extra advice in shepherding someone in your group, call your Pastor for wisdom and support. 

    However, let’s not overplay this shepherding role of small group leaders. In the New Testament there are about 4 or 5 places where shepherding is spoken of, but there are 57 places where it speaks of one anothering. Consider this one…

    Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

    The bulk of care that Christians should receive should be from fellow believers, and this is supplemented by the care of Pastors and Church leaders. Shepherds supplement the care of the community. We need to tell our small group leaders to care for each other – celebrating with each other, and grieving with each other when appropriate.

    4. FACILITATE CONTRIBUTION: The how of LifeGroups

    Romans 12:6-8 – "We have different gifts: prophesying, serving, teaching, encouragement; giving, leading, showing mercy."

    • The job of the LifeGroup leader is like a orchestra leader. Your work is to facilitate the contribution of everyone else.
    • We should encourage people to be active in the church in their areas of gifting and passion. It’s wonderful that they come to your small group, but if they are only receiving on Sundays, and receiving in small groups but never giving, they will be flabby spiritually – fed but under-exercised.
    • Within the group, always find ways to get people doing stuff. Allow others to facilitate the conversation (send them the Group Guide), or to host, or to organize a social, or to be the administrator, or the Social Justice champ. Give people a job. Get everyone involved.
    • And don’t miss the opportunity to mobilize your group when your group is scheduled to serve on a Sunday meeting service. Here, the attitude of the leader determines the altitude of the group. You might want to be the captain of this time, or this is a chance to delegate to another to lead the charge in getting the group there, and doing the work with joy and a heart to serve.

    James 1:19 – "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak"

    When it comes to small group conversations, abide by this verse. This is not a chance for the frustrated wanna-be-preacher to preach. No, this is a chance for the group to ask the kind of questions that will enable people to 1) talk over God’s Word and 2) the insights of the Sunday message, and 3) to open up our lives to each other and to God so that they can be healed and changed.

    Some things to keep in mind for Lifegroup meetings:

    • Set the tone of openness and vulnerability. People will seldom be more so than you.
    • Find gentle ways to draw quitter people out.
    • Find gentle ways to quieten or refocus over-dominant people.
    • Specialize in open-ended question that get conversation going.

    Matthew 18:20 – "Where 2 or 3 gather in my name, there I am among them."

    LifeGroups have 3 main components:

    1. Social Time (with good atmospherics like snacks, ice breaker discussions, etc),
    2. Bible Discussion Time, and finally 
    3. Prayer time.

    The prayer time is a chance to create ‘God-moments’. Create space to respond to the biblical insights in the conversation, and the sharing of where people are at, in prayer. Suggest 2 or 3 themes of prayer – for example, thanking God for what we have learnt, asking God for stuff and praying for each other. . Praying for people’s needs is powerful. 

    5. RAISE LEADERS: The how many of LifeGroups

    Our church grows one LifeGroup at a time. Every new LifeGroup creates more space for people to become connected, and to grow in discipleship. However, it takes a new LifeGroup leader to start a small group.

    2 Timothy 2:2 – "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others."

    Those who serve God in one way should make help others to do the same, who in turn help yet others to do the same. It takes leaders to make new leaders.

    As such, one of the most important things you can ever do is look for people in your group who are:

    1) Growing in God 2) are warm and 3) seem to be buying into the vision and values of the church – and then 1) give them chances to facilitate the conversation 2) Suggest that they lead one day because of what you see in them, 3) Spend a little more time with them, 4) chat with the Pastor about them and 5) invite them to Life Group Leaders training.

    There are three ways to start new LifeGroups:

    • You can multiply your group. One half go with you, and the other half with the other leader. Never call this ‘splitting’ – it’s multiplying.
    • You can plant the new leader (or couple) and perhaps one or two other people out to start a LifeGroup from scratch.
    • You can ask someone to temporarily host a short-term group with the possibility of the group becoming a permanent group thereafter.

    6. LEAD YOURSELF WELL: The how long of LifeGroups

    Over the years, many small group leaders flame out, or fall out, or burn out. We must learn to lead our own lives well and sustainably, so that we will be able to lead and serve in other people’s lives too.

    John 15:8 – "If you remain in me, and my Word remains you, you will bear much fruit."

    Lead yourself well by developing and protecting a daily habit of devotions – spending some everyday time opening your life to God’s Word and presence. 

    Mark 6:31 – "Come with me by yourselves, and get some rest."

    Lead yourself well by developing habits of self-replenishment. If your outflow exceeds your inflow the shortfall will prove to be your downfall. Three ways to find and guard these inflows is to:

    1. Divert daily – everyday, try find a gap to do something that replenishes you emotionally. Note that entertainment seldom does this.

    2. Withdraw weekly – the Sabbath is not a law, but it is a principle. Try to find a substantial period of time every week when you only do personally restorative things.

    3. Abandon annually – plan holidays, and when there, don’t take a holiday from God. Holidays afford a wonderful time to renew and deepen your relationship with God through your personal devotions and your relationship with the people closest to you.

    Lamentations 3:40 – "Let us examine and probe our ways and let us return to the LORD."

    Lead yourself well by refusing to tolerate and defend darkness in your own life. Why?

    • I am not as strong as I think I am (1 Cor 10:12). You lie to you more than you lie to anyone.
    • Satan is plotting to defeat you. Be self-controlled and alert, the devil prowls around (1 Peter 5).
    • My life affects other people’s lives. Your private sins affect other people. They’re personal but they spill over in effect to damage others (1 Tim 4:16). You can never take a person farther than you are yourself.
    • So God won’t have to judge me. ‘If we examine ourselves we will not be judged by God’ (1 Corinthians 11:31). How? Confess your sins to God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9), but if need confess your sins to some trusted followers of Jesus for healing and reconciiation (James 5:16). There’s no healing until there is revealing. None of us can get up again or stay standing without some people who love us and know us lift us up, and stand by our side. 

    Ephesians 5:18 – "Be filled with the Spirit."

    Lead yourself well by relying on the Spirit. Finally, you don’t just need people, you need God. You need his presence, his power, his strength. Your lack of prayer is not mainly a lack of discipline, but of dependence. Disciples are made, community is built, and remain standing not by human might or power, but by God’s Spirit. Almost all small group leaders tend to feel weak, discouraged or under attack in the day before small group meetings – this may be spiritual attack, but in the main God is allowing us to feel weakness so that we rely on him more. In our weakness, his strength is made perfect.

    To God be all the glory!

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