5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Leading a Small Group

  • 15 September 2017
  • Keith Reed

Deep thoughtIt's hard to multiply small groups if you don’t have small group leaders. And when churches are flooded with people who want to join a group, the logical solution is to launch new groups—even if there isn't anyone to lead them. This is a "problem" well worth solving because groups carry the potential to be excellent incubators of spiritual growth. But it comes with two obvious challenges: 

1. How to find suitable leaders for new groups (most people don't want to lead small groups)  
2. How to train new leaders before their groups begin 

What should you do?

There are many ways to locate and discern new leaders (here are 10 strategies for recruiting volunteers), so I will focus here on the second challenge: how to train new leaders.

Leadership training is critical to ministry success and an effective way to equip new leaders is by sending them resources that they can access on their own time. Our small groups ministry page is designed with this in mind

However, there might be an occasion when there simply isn't enough time for new leaders to be trained before their first meeting. And even for those who have been adequately trained, the experience of leading a small group will prompt new experiences and questions. After all, no two groups are the same.   

I asked followers of our MinistryLift Facebook page to give their advice to first-time small group leaders. They delivered some wise comments that you can view here (please add to the ongoing conversation).

Here are 5 things I wish I knew before I led a small group for the first time: 

Seven Ways to Make Scripture Come Alive

  • 13 January 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Sunflower reaching upConfession time: I don’t always enjoy reading Scripture. Sometimes, it’s routine, even boring. Yet, I’ve also experienced incredible “Aha!” moments as God has spoken wisdom into my life. God’s Word has often encouraged me to carry on, even in the face of a big challenge. 

I’ve discovered that the times Scripture impacts me the most is when I actually engage with what God is saying―to meditate on His words. 

I’d like to offer seven ways for engaging Scripture that I have found life-changing.

Pray Through Scripture

I am currently using a Bible reading app on my phone to read through the Bible in 18 months. I like this approach, but sometimes find that I’m just reading to get it done. What has helped is to purposefully pray through the passages as I read them. For example, when reading Psalm 46, I can praise God that He is my refuge and strength. I may find myself confessing those times when I have tried to find safety outside of God. Depending on what I’m going through, I may respond to this passage by committing challenges to the Lord that need His strong helping hand. Praying through Scripture is a way to engage in a conversation with God about what He is showing me. It makes Scripture real and personal.

Journal in Response to Scripture

Journaling is another great way of engaging with Scripture. When I went through the two-year Navigator 2:7 Bible Study Series, we had to journal about our Bible reading each day. The approach was simple. We recorded a key idea and then applied it to our lives. Many have found that life journaling is a great way of getting into the heart of Scripture. One of the great benefits of journaling is that you can trace themes that God might be emphasizing in your life.

Memorize Scripture

Random Order: Read, Memorize, Study

  • 7 March 2016
  • Keith Reed

I’m memorizing the “armour of God” passage that’s found in Ephesians 6:10-18. I chose this section because I’m convinced that temptation is a lifelong struggle. I’ve been able to develop some degree of willpower over the years, but without the power of Christ, I’m still a slave to sin. I need more than personal effort to keep myself from falling. 

As I’ve studied the words in the first few verses and repeated them over and over again, I’ve noticed things that I never before saw in this passage. For instance, the word “stand/withstand” appears in verse 11 and then is quickly used three more times in verses 13 and 14. The image that now comes to my mind is not that of an attacking warrior, but of a soldier who is standing in the confidence of knowing that his armour is outfitted with God’s power and presence. The enemy cannot prevail so long as he stays alert and uses his weapons accordingly.  

But in order for this to happen, the soldier must do something that I never before realized. He must “do everything” (NIV). Standing firm will be the result of “having done all” (ESV).

What then is the “thing” that needs to be done? This is the question I’ve been asking myself as I keep repeating this verse and committing it to memory. And it has led me to study this passage so that I will gain a better understanding for how I can keep standing when the evil one attacks.

This experience has made me grateful for the various ways that I can read and interact with God’s Word and it makes me think about how each practice relates to another.