Monday, July 21, 2014

Leading Great Small Group Meetings

Small group meetings are important. If you don't do meetings that well, then people will not want to explore life together outside the group. However, if we don't have much life interaction outside the meeting, how good can the meetings actually be?

It's a chicken and egg thing. Good group meetings can lead to life together. And life together generates good group meetings.

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In order to have great small groups the goal cannot be to have a great group meeting. As soon as we put the success of a group meeting in the cross hair, then we will miss one another. The point of it all is to love one another. We have great meetings to the extent that we see the other persons, when we encounter them in truth, and when we serve the other. Great group meeting occur when we turn our faces to one another and we experience the other.

When we value the success of the group meeting over the people in the meeting, then we fail. It's a paradox. We actually have a great group experience when we don't focus on having a great group experience.

So here are a few things that you can practice as a leader in order to focus beyond having a great group meeting:
  1. Pray for every group member. Ask the Lord to give you compassion for them and to open your eyes to see them. This will help you get your eyes off of yourself and your leadership.
  2. Prepare the lesson the night before. Don't wait until the last minute. You want your mind to be clear so that you can focus on the people, not on the lesson.
  3. Listen to what people are not saying as much as to what they are saying. Posture, tone of voice, and eye contact reveal crucial things about what's going on in our lives.
  4. Enlist someone to help you lead the meeting. Don't take on all of the pressure to do everything. Ask someone to lead the ice breaker or to lead worship. Yes you probably can do it all, but your primary job is to focus on the people, not to do all the parts of the meeting correctly.
  5. Remember that silence is actually an asset. Give space for people to reflect, to listen to God, and to form their words. If all of the time is filled with words, you may have an energetic meeting, but you may miss what God wants to do.
Jean Vanier writes, "A community is only truly a body when the majority of its members is making the transition from 'the community for myself' to 'myself for the community,' when each person's heart is opening to all the others, without any exception. This is the movement from egoism to love, from death to resurrection; it is the Easter, a passage, the passover of the Lord. It is also the passing from a land of slavery to a promised land, and the land of inner freedom" (Community and Growth, 55-56).

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