Why Most People Don’t Want to Lead Small Groups

  • 13 February 2017
  • Keith Reed

Small GroupsI’ve never heard of a church that has too many small group leaders. Too many ushers? Maybe. Too many musicians? Possibly. Too many small group leaders? Highly unlikely.

And yet, I know many churches that have grand visions for their small group ministry. Statements like, “we want to be a church of small groups” or “we want everyone to be in a small group.” All of them? Wouldn’t this require a massive influx of group leaders?

Herein lies the problem—you can’t multiply small groups if you don’t have small group leaders. For as motivated as some people may be to join a small group, their ambition will come to a screeching halt when they discover that the bus they’re about to board is missing its driver. 

Small group leaders don’t just appear—they must be developed.

But developing small group leaders comes with a set of challenges. Beyond the obvious task of equipping individuals for this position is another hurdle you might have to clear—most people don’t want to lead small groups. And the reason they don’t want to lead is directly tied to the expectations they believe a small group leader needs to fulfill. Many people feel that leading a small group:

    • Is categorially different than participating in a small group
    • Requires significant biblical knowledge and theological training 
    • Requires a lot of preparation time 
    • Is an unending commitment
    • Is a solo act 

Expectations of small group leaders may extend beyond this list, but these five make a sufficient point—there are many valid reasons why people don’t want to lead small groups. And these objections don’t necessarily mean that a person is less committed to discipleship. They’re simply considering if the role is a good fit (to which they should be commended).

Depending on how your small group ministry is structured, you might be able to lessen the objections that potential leaders might have. Maybe group leaders are provided with teaching curriculum to follow or maybe there’s a designated time for groups to break or disband.

It’s possible that you can convince people to lead small groups and that you can develop creative ways to limit the obstacles. But this approach will leave you wondering if these groups will be led with the appropriate amount of passion that comes when the right people are leading from the right positions. 

Are You Doing Ministry Like An Angry Tourist?

  • 8 November 2016
  • Geoff Kullman

Angry TouristAre you doing ministry like an angry tourist? It’s a serious question and an important one to answer if we are to have any hope of effectively communicating to a new generation of millennials.

Let me explain:

Imagine yourself on vacation in a foreign country. Maybe your mind’s eye takes you to an urban metropolis where you take in the sights and sounds that only a place like Paris or Shanghai can offer. Or perhaps your dream destination is a nearly-secluded tropical villa serving umbrella-laden drinks all day long.

Got your vacation destination locked in? Good.

Next, imagine yourself browsing around some of the local shops. It’s probably one of those tourist trap places filled with cheesy “I went to [insert location] and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” shirts and stuffed animals embossed with whatever the city’s tourist slogan happens to be this year.

You’ve found a few items that pass the grunt test and you go to the cashier to pay—only, there’s a problem with your credit card machine. Suddenly, you and the cashier are trying to communicate with each other to solve this life-defining transaction of plush toys and tourist apparel when you realize that they don’t speak a word of English.

And that’s when it happens: you become an angry tourist.

In this moment of frustration at the inability to effectively communicate, you start to yell, scream, and insult their intelligence simply because they don’t know how to speak your language even though you are in their country.

It can be difficult news for people of faith to admit, but we now live in a post-Christian era, a time in history when the gospel narrative is no longer the story that our culture or country holds in common. In many ways, we must now consider ourselves foreigners speaking a different language even within our own country.

5 Ways to Motivate More Effective Board Meetings

  • 6 October 2016
  • Keith Reed

board roomThe “life” of a non-profit board exists in its official meetings. The time that a board has to experience this “life” is extremely limited (perhaps 30-40 hours each year), which means that board leaders have to plan meetings that enable the board to derive the most value during these scheduled interactions. Ineffective meetings—those that hinder a board’s ability to advance the agency’s mission by making good decisions—generate board dysfunction and affect the health of the agency. So investing wisdom in developing quality meetings and board experiences pays immense dividends.

Experienced, non-profit board leaders rely upon five key principles to ensure that their board meetings are productive and healthy:

1. Leverage the link between meetings and mission

Understand the essential relationship between effective board meetings and achieving the key outcomes necessary to advance the mission. When board leaders and the CEO fail to perceive the inter-relationship between well-planned board interactions and the ability of the agency to fulfill its vision, then insufficient attention will be given to nurturing the “life” of the board. The inevitable result will be poor planning, mediocre leadership, and risky decisions. 

2. Develop an annual agenda 

Board leaders serve the board and its members. This can only happen if board leaders understand the role and responsibility of the board, have a clear perception of the work that the board has to accomplish annually, and know how to pace the work of the board to fulfill its responsibilities effectively and efficiently. Developing an annual agenda will accomplish these purposes in the following ways: 

  • It will ensure that time-sensitive decisions are scheduled appropriately
  • It will require the board to have the necessary information in hand to make such decisions
  • It will empower the board to handle unanticipated issues without upsetting its rhythm

3. Nourish the culture