Appointed Not Recruited
Leading a small group (or anything else in the church) comes out of an assignment or appointment from God. This is critical and foundational to Christian leadership. When someone recruits you to a job that you are not called to, it’s easy to throw in the towel when the going gets tough.
Are you a small group leader because someone recruited you, because there’s a shortage of leaders, or because you have been called by God?
Let me be clear: You may have been recruited, even out of a sense of need, by someone in your church: a pastor, ministry point leader, coach, or the leader of your group, for instance. That does not mean you have not also been called. God often-actually, usually-uses other people as his ambassadors to call us into his service. You may have been primarily called as a small group host or facilitator, but now I’m talking to you about being a leader, and maybe you’re thinking, Not so fast! I’m not a leader, just a host or facilitator.
Please let me encourage you.
First, don’t underestimate yourself. The best leaders are often, at first, anyway, reluctant leaders. Humility is a vital trait of a godly leader.
Second, and I’ve said this before, it’s not about you anyway! The best leaders are people who are simply willing to let God use them. God takes ordinary people and does extraordinary things through them.
Third, simply start where you are, in whatever role God has called you to, and be ready to grow into what God is making you into. Remember what Jesus told some guys who started as fishermen: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men!”
It comes down to this: You assume the role of a leader “not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be” (1 Peter 5:2). What’s important is your willingness to let God use you as he wants for his kingdom work.
A Simple Small Group Agenda
Posted By: Andrew Mason
This simple small group agenda is based on 7 principles from Acts 2:42-47, 5:42 and 6:7. The seven principles are as follows:
House-to-house gatherings – smaller than the temple courts gatherings and an expression of hospitality.
Devoted to the Apostles’ Doctrine – interacting with the Word of God in a communal setting.
Devoted to Fellowship – experiencing the 59 one another’s of the NT.
Devoted to Breaking Bread – meals, snacks and communion together.
Devoted to Prayer – encountering His presence and power.
Living on Mission – being a witness together through serving, outreach and evangelism.
Experiencing Multiplication – cultivating kingdom laborers and launching new communities.
These seven principles represent settings, practices and the fruit that is produced as a result.
They can be touched upon in a weekly home group through a simple small group agenda known as The Four W’s: Welcome, Word, Worship and Witness. I did not come up with these but I have revised them slightly. Ralph W. Neighbour originally developed the concept of The Four W’s.
The Welcome time helps people get connected to each other as they arrive. A meal or snacks and upbeat Christian music can create an irresistible atmosphere (See also Creating An Irresistible Environment). When we have provided the opportunity for a meal, we offer it as an option 30 minutes before the starting time.
This window as well as the time hanging out after dismissal are the key times for believers to experience the 59 “one another” of the New Testament. For more on this see The 59 One Another’s of the Bible.
The group should be small enough and healthy enough for everyone to fellowship. It should be illegal for a person to show up to a small group and experience isolation.
Before you move into the Word segment, you can begin to transition the Welcome time by starting the meeting with an Ice Breaker. For more on this see Tons of Free Ice Breakers and
Why They’re Effective.
(30 – 45 minutes)
The Word time should complement the corporate teaching time in the weekend service (not try to duplicate it). People need to grow in the Word of God through hearing (corporate teaching) and dialogue (small group). See my article Fully Developed Disciples for more on that.
This can be achieved in a small group through a Word-centered conversation. If the Word of God is a seed then an interactive Bible discussion can plow the fallow ground of a person’s heart through deepening, open-ended questions (See Small Group Discussion Questions that Go
Deep as well). This process can be remembered with the acronym for SOIL:
S – Scripture reading and focus (this is also the spot for a short video teaching if you’re using video curriculum)
O – Observation questions about the passage.
I – Interpretation questions about the passage.
L – Life application questions about the passage.
Facilitating skills, listening, vulnerability and navigating personalities are keys to an effective Word segment (See Five Facets of Facilitating with Finesse) .
The goal here is for people to grow in their knowledge of the Word and develop their own language for discussing their faith. Transformation occurs through revelation and transparency with the community of believers.
(20 – 25 minutes)
Some prefer to have their worship time before the Word segment and end their meeting with prayer. Whatever works best for your group or that night’s purpose is what you should do. I prefer to lead into the time of intercession with worship.
First I ask for and write down any prayer requests from the group. We then seek God’s face in praise and worship for 5-8 minutes before bringing our prayer requests to His throne. It’s an open time where anyone can lead out.
The worship time releases presence, prayer and power in the midst of the group in a way that builds up each other’s faith and spiritually bonds everyone together.
As you close your gathering you can share vision for the future direction of the group. This is vital to keeping the group looking outward through mission, ministry and multiplication.
Serving opportunities and reaching out to unbelievers as a group promotes a balanced discipleship pattern. Multiplication of the group through the cultivation of laborers and launching of a new group should be discussed for the group to continue to grow into a kingdom mindset (See also 5 Ways to Multiply a Small Group).
A typical small group meeting should last between 90 minutes to two hours. We’ve had people at our house for over four hours, but we’ve always dismissed the formal meeting within two hours. After the dismissal, we welcome people to stay as long as they want but that may differ for you.
To dive in deeper on these concepts I highly recommend Joel Comiskey’s book, “How to Lead an Effective Cell Group Meeting.”
The above article, “Appointed Not Recruited” was written by Mike Mack. The article was excerpted from http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/blog/.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”