Every time Jesus makes someone more like Himself, it is a miracle. If we are honest about our own hearts we will admit that discipleship is truly miraculous. If your church has decided that discipleship occurs best within a small community of believers, then your goal should be to develop leaders to lead those communities toward the miracle of looking like Christ. Finding already miraculous leaders is almost impossible, which is why they have to be developed. Jesus changed the world with twelve very ordinary men. It was only through intentional time and development were they capable of doing extraordinary things. Even the best leaders in history were not always amazing. If you study their lives, each one had someone that took the time to mentor them to greatness.
If you expect your small group leaders to do the amazing and be miraculous, here are three things that they will need from the leadership of the church:
Discipling a group of people is not a trivial assignment. When we ask people in our church to take on the leadership of a biblical small group, we are asking them to shepherd a segment of our congregation. These newly minted leaders need to know that the church leadership will walk alongside them as they take this significant spiritual step. We too often focus on launching small groups, but leave them to fend for themselves after the launch. A soul-care system of coaches is mandatory for the future health of your small group leaders. A coach is simply a seasoned leader who is available for new leaders to lean on.
Just like we expect the staff of a church to be well-trained for their jobs, our small group leaders need to be equipped for their role. There are basic leadership skills they need to understand from the beginning, but most of their knowledge will be needed as they begin to face issues within the group. This is where as-needed, ongoing training from your experienced coaches is so valuable. Your new leaders will have someone to turn to when the inevitable questions start coming up during the small groups semester.
Curriculum in and of itself does not lead to discipleship, but it does help set the stage for the needed discipleship conversations to take place. We cannot assume that our group leaders will automatically know what their group should be studying next, so that’s why it’s critical that they have a curriculum map to follow. That is one of the reasons I love smallgroup.com. Smallgroup.com is an online library of discussion-driven and video-enhanced studies that you can customize for any small group to have a consistent and transformational discipleship experience. You can quickly build series of studies for your sermon-based groups, or you can allow group leaders to pick from over 400 video-enhanced studies from teachers like Beth Moore, Matt Chandler and Tony Evans. You can try it free for two weeks by going to smallgroup.com and signing up.
If we provide our group leaders with adequate support, ongoing training, and biblical content, there is a good chance they will have the opportunity to do miraculous ministry in our churches.