As a Small Group Point Person, we are often asked a myriad of questions, “Why aren’t more people connecting?”, “What do leaders need to know?”, “What should my group study?”, etc. People assume since you are the Small Group Point Person you have all the answers. And it can feel like if you don’t have all the answers you are failing. Or that you are required to be perfect as a leader. Leaders feel this pressure. Like everyone is looking at you and following your example, so if you mess up people will be hurt and led astray. Or maybe that’s just me. I often feel that pressure. The pressure to be perfect.
Well, I am not perfect. In fact, this week, as I was writing the sermon discussion guide for our small groups, I made a sarcastic and hurtful comment to someone who said they had given up on Small Groups. And I felt horrible. Nothing like making a stupid comment when you are writing something spiritual to remind you of just how not perfect you are. I went and apologized to this person and heard about how difficult it was for them to connect. Which felt like piling on, since part of my job is helping people connect. And that process did not work for this person. Double fail.
Now, I hate it when I am an idiot. I wish I always led from a place of wholeness and connection with the Holy Spirit. But I often do not. However, when I fail, it reminds me that I am never going to be perfect. Only Jesus is perfect. My job is to focus on connecting with Jesus and let him cleanse me of my sarcastic tendencies. And help me see others as he sees them.
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Jesus knows I am not perfect. He knows better than anyone just how not perfect I am. Yet, he loves me. And he doesn’t give up on me. And he gives me influence. And he lets me lead. And he has given me a front row seat to see lives changed through Small Groups. And that is way more that I could have ever hoped for.
So, as you lead, I want to encourage you. You don’t have to be a perfect leader. The more honest you are about your imperfections the easier it will be for others to share their own failures with you. The small group leaders in your church are feeling the same pressure you feel. The pressure to be perfect. And they need to know that it is okay to not be perfect.
When you embrace and share your own failures with them, you can also share the accepting love and restoration of Jesus. It is only through owning your failures that you get to share this love and restoration with others. And practice the ministry of reconciliation.