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As we prepare for the upcoming fall semester, in the midst of this ongoing pandemic, every small group leader should ask this question: is my small group is “up to PAR?” “PAR” means personal, available, and relevant. As Christ-followers, we follow Jesus’ example, and He was always way “above PAR.” Though He taught the crowds of people who followed him, Jesus was also drawn to minister personally to individuals. He had a unique way of speaking directly into their hearts, and engaging them in life-changing conversation. Jesus always made Himself available to those He was called to influence — God, His Father dictated his schedule – not the demanding crowds, nor the religious leaders, not even the most urgent needs. Jesus was also a master of using relevant illustrations to make a point. When talking, He used terms the individual and groups would understand and could relate to. He asked questions that revealed the heart of the listener. In today’s world, it’s never been more important that we as leaders ask questions that reveal heart issues that only Jesus can answer and heal. As small group leaders, let’s take time to think deeply about the question, “Is my small group up to PAR?”
Is My Group Personal?
Jesus’ ministry was powerful because He was invested in personal relationships. As small group leaders, we are called to invest in the personal relationships with those who are in our groups. Small groups are a place where people can come together and share life together, support one another, and pray for each other. Here are some questions to consider: Does everyone in your group feel loved, heard, known, and accepted? Do your group members feel comfortable opening up within the group and sharing on a personal level? Is your group committed to praying for and supporting each other – both in small group, and outside?
Is My Group Available?
We mentioned how Jesus always made himself available to those He was called to influence. Take a personal look at yourself, as a small group leader, and ask, “Am I available to those in my group?” Perhaps, the COVID-19 pandemic has open your eyes to see how busy you were before, and how being busy keeps you from being available to others? Have you changed anything in your lifestyle to make yourself more available to those in your group? Another thing we need to to consider, in light of COVID-19, is the fact that there is a wide range of comfort levels, within the church and within small groups. While some people may feel comfortable meeting in-person, some may not. Are you making your small groups are available to everyone? Are you offering both in-home, outdoors, and virtual options – so that no one is left out? COVID-19 is forcing us to get creative in how we can not just reach more people, but be available to them also.
Is My Group Relevant?
Just as Jesus was a Master at using relevant illustrations to make a point, you as a small group leader, can use relevant questions to engage your group in a good discussion. As a leader, you know your group the best! Consider who is in your group, what are their needs. Do you have single members who are struggling to fit in; older and retired members who are struggling with purpose; or what about men who are have concerns about providing for their family; young mothers who can never seem to find rest? Does your group wrestle with social injustice issues or more recently, understanding COVID-19? As a leader, don’t shy away from addressing these important issues. Make sure you are asking questions that are relevant to your group — these are the questions that will engage your group in a good discussion. As always, remember to follow Jesus’ example – exposing issues with truth, love and compassion.
Watch & See What God will Do!
As you consider the question, “Is my group up to PAR?” pray that the Lord will direct you and help you to make any necessary changes to bring your group “up to PAR” – and wait and see how it not only affects you as a group leader, but your group members and group as a whole!
Presenting our new online training course – “Align!” Align will help you learn the small group ministry essentials. It features…
- 8 HD video session taught by Steve Gladen
- A downloadable workbook
- Lesson discussion questions
- An official Small Group Network completion certificate
- A special gift to help further your Small Group Ministry
Learn more by watching the free course introduction & ENROLL HERE!