Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15
Jesus served others and lead by example and love. This is different than how our rushed world leads with measures for success and focusing on ‘what’s in it for me’. Everything He did was for God and His glory. Your group is God’s and for His glory. It’s not only about what the group does for others, but serving the group and leading like Christ to point them to God and His glory. By setting your own needs aside, you can help each grow in skill, confidence, and love of Christ and God.
So let us then definitely aim for and eagerly pursue what makes for harmony and for mutual upbuilding (edification and development) of one another. Romans 14:19 Amplified Bible
Leading others is more than sharing time and a joined purpose. It’s leading like Jesus, being a good shepherd; making sure no one is hurt or left behind, all are feed, watered, and feel safe. It’s easy to be lost in the moment and participate in the group instead of lead. To lead, you help others be the best they can, not just arrange a time and place to meet. Here are some of the leadership roles that can easily be overlooked or set aside.
Protect – making sure no one is hurt or left behind. Just as sheep are protected in a pen and guarded at night, so should be done with your group. Communicate when your meetings are, and what to expect. If using email, use a distribution list so that you protect the privacy of your members. Most will innocently forward cute emails that are used by spammers to collect email addresses or worse have viruses.
Start and end on time. Be consistent with the time and meeting location. If the venue will change, new project instructions or guest speaker, tell them ahead of time so they can choose whether to participate or not. Don’t ambush your sheep.
New members need one on one leader time to feel safe, meet the gang, learn the ropes, and feel valued. This will involve more than one meeting, with involvement weaning off once the new member starts bonding with existing members.
Feed – your sheep, provide them with information, feed back and encouragement. Feed your church leaders by sharing the God moment stories that happen within your group and how your group touch others. Show them and the group how you are using the seeds that have been planted by the bible studies and sermons in church. This will help others have kingdom vision.
See who needs help and instruction. Focus on completion not perfection. Show others how you may do things, but encourage then to do it their way. Each person has different talents and strengths. Focus on the strengths. If someone enjoys hand sewing, suggest the one with all thumbs to pass it on to the hand sewer. Use the strengths of the group. It’s your job as a leader to join the group together with God’s work.
Water – by starting and ending your meetings with prayer. The group is here to use their hands for Jesus so respect that with short prayer and announcement time. There should not be more than 5 sentences for announcements. Use email for detailed reporting that people can chose to read or not in their timing. Capture the stories in a God journal that others can look at as they please.
Create a prayer book where others can write down prayer requests, but leave space for answers to prayers, even if it is not what we think the answer should be. This will allow others to flip through the book in between projects and pray for others there. Do not allow prayer requests during open and closing prayers or you’ll turn into an intervention meeting which is not what your members signed up for. Some will use prayer requests as a ‘christian way of gossip’. God knows the names and specifics of the individual that you are praying for. Others do not need to knowledge of how someone was hurt or by who.
Present new projects to the group and encourage others to bring forward new ideas. This will keep things fresh and creative.
Keep Safe – Another reason for a leader not being vested in a project at the meeting is to ensure that the conversations are either edifying God, helping others, or lifting them up. Do not tolerate gossip. A quick way of ending it is to ask the one with the loose lips how they plan on helping the one they are attacking, or suggest they talk to the pastor about the problem they are having with others. If this is offensive to them and they leave the group, this is a good thing. Your sheep are protected from the bite of the snake.
Some people will try to use the group or individuals as counselors. Just because we are Christian, does not mean we have all the answers, but we do know God does and the Church offers a Care Ministry or counseling for the individual. Don’t let your sheep be attacked by a ‘what about me’ wolf.
This is a lot for a leader to do so that is why we recommend having three leaders. This way different duties can be traded among the three so that: a leader can still put family first, make leading easier so others will step up and try leading, and provide a way to rotate leadership to reinforce this is God’s ministry, not an individual.
Just as children should not see their parents argue, the sheep should not see the shepherds argue. Have a monthly meeting for the leaders (more in the beginning) to work on who is doing what and make any corrections needed. This will avoid frustration and rumors.
Two are better than one . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12