Oscar Wilde said, “experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes.” Having been a Small Group Point Person for a number of years now, I have accumulated lots of that type of experience. My hope is that by sharing what I wish someone had told me when I was first starting out in leading small groups, that you will be able to learn from my experience, and maybe save yourself some mistakes.
- You don’t have to do this alone. There are amazing small group point people all over the place, and most of them are more than willing to share their thoughts, resources and time with you. You just have to reach out to them. If you are connected to a Small Group Network Huddle you are already leaps and bounds ahead of where I was. If you are not in a huddle yet, find one here. I will be forever grateful for leaders like Rick Howerton, Steve Gladen, Heather Zempel and Will Johnston for investing in me and my success. I wish I would have connected with them sooner.
- Embrace the messiness. For years I was frustrated that people would not connect into small groups using my system. It took me a while to realize that connecting people through my system was the wrong goal. Small groups are not the goal, life transformation is. Connecting people into a small group is a tool that creates a community pursuing life transformation through Jesus. Community is relational and organic, most small groups will not fit completely into the system. That is okay. I had to broaden my definition of a small group to allow freedom for people to find their own community.
- Small Group leaders only think about their group 3-4 hours a week. Most small group leaders are volunteers. They have a job and a family and other responsibilities besides leading a group. Expecting small group to be in the top five on their priority list is unrealistic and unfair. As the small group point person, I think and pray more about small groups than anyone at my church. A big part of my job is to make it easy for small group leaders to be successful by sharing what I am learning with them.
None of these ideas is groundbreaking. However, I wish someone had told me these things, so I didn’t have to learn them the hard way. Hopefully sharing them with you will save you some embarrassment and headaches.
- BONUS IDEA (and most important), Jesus cares more about transforming your life than He does about your ministry success. It is too easy to fall into the trap of building small groups for Jesus while losing community with Jesus. Making time spent with Jesus more important than time spent working on small groups is pivotal to long term success.
If you are looking for someone to walk alongside you on this journey, or just want someone to bounce ideas off of, my cell is 912-572-5319. I would love to talk with you.