God hasn’t called us to be mediocre spiritual leaders.
Churches around the country are filled with leaders who more closely resemble warm bodies than spiritual leaders.
Small group leaders have an incredible calling to impart practical spiritual truth with a group of people who are on various levels of spiritual maturity. This is an incredibly difficult task!
It is well known that the best leaders are self-aware to their limitations, issues, and shortcomings. The list below reflects 14 qualities of incredible small group leaders. None of us match up with every one of these. We all have gaps. However, it is important for us to recognize where we are, where we need to be, and who we can bring into the mix to help us fill the gaps of our leadership.
Take your time and pray through this list and see where God is leading you to grow as a leader.
14 Characteristics Of Incredible Small Group Leaders
What right do you have leading others to Jesus if you are not following Him?
Small group leaders must be spiritually mature. Does this mean they have to be perfect? Of course not! Maturity doesn’t mean you are perfect. Maturity in Jesus means that you are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus through spiritual disciplines. Spiritually immature people are incapable of being spiritual leaders. The great news is that we can all, by the grace of Jesus and application of spiritual disciplines, grow spiritually.
Great small group leaders are attentive to the needs, spiritual condition, and personalities of the people that the are serving. It isn’t enough for a small group leader to know the bible study material – they must know the people they are serving.
Transparency is essential to build relationships. Relationship is essential for discipleship. Every person in your small group doesn’t need to know every aspect of your life. Instead, they need to know that you are a real person with real struggles. Groups that are transparent are led by leader who are transparent.
Small group leaders are not responsible to “fix” people. There are too many negative ways you can take that statement, so I will move on. Some leaders become increasingly frustrated that the students in their group aren’t maturing as quickly as others. Be patient. People are different. People come from different backgrounds. People have different stories.
Person Of Integrity
This one is a no-brainer. Leaders have integrity. Without integrity you lose influence. Integrity comes from practicing what you preach, both publicly and privately.
People are willing to follow someone who encourages them. Everyone feels inadequate in some areas of their spiritual life. Encouraging your small group can be as simple as praying, sending text messages, or remembering to follow up with a question.
The love for people is an essential characteristic of great small group leaders. The best small group leaders are actively participating in other’s lives. The best small group leader’s are not the greatest Bible teachers – they are often the best relational leaders.
I find it hard to read the Bible and walk away with a negative attitude. God has repeatedly done the impossible for His people. Small group leaders need to approach their groups with a positive attitude. After all, God promises to provide for His people – both spiritually and relationally.
Jesus’ life exemplified the power present when we assume the role of a servant leader. Your small group doesn’t exist to serve you, but for you to serve them.
The most encouraging person can still make for a bad small group leader if he is unavailable to his group. Time and energy are essential to disciple others. Small group leaders understand that at times they will sacrifice their schedule to minister to their group.
Spiritual growth doesn’t appear magically. Growth takes intentionality. It is a small group leader’s responsibility to intentionally lead each person in his or her group.
Do you believe that your group members can do incredible things to build the Kingdom of God? Healthy expectations can spur growth more so than wordsmithing a perfect open-ended question.
Each Jesus follower has been given spiritual gifts and talents to leverage in their mission to share the Gospel. Great leaders help their people set healthy expectations and paint a picture of what God may have for them in the near future.
Enthusiasm is contagious. It is important for you to enjoy spending time with your small group. The leader is the one who sets the pace for this. If you dread attending small group meetings your group will dread it as well. Add elements that will connect the team to one another and spark their enjoyment for life and Jesus.
Your small group is not a platform. Your small group is not your audience. Don’t lecture to them for an hour. Be a leader that facilitates conversation. Facilitators steer the conversation without controlling the conversation. Facilitation, when done well, incorporates strong Biblical teaching and ensures there are practical steps for each person to walk away with.