Seasonal transitions can be tough, and group dynamics are certainly not exempt. The Summer comes with it’s own challenges to group life, but as we move into the Fall, a good group leader will use this season as an opportunity to refocus on the direction and expectations for the group. To help you plot the spiritual course ahead, here are three questions every leader should be asking…
1. Where Are We Now? (Evaluate)
Coming out of Summer is a great time to take inventory of your group and evaluate the current status of each individual. This helps you determine how far you are from where you want to be, and sets you up for the next steps necessary to keep moving in that direction. In short, assess the growth needs of the group. Use your study time, group service activities, prayer time, and even your fellowship times to answer these kinds of questions:
- What does my group care about?
- What knowledge do they need?
- What do they need more practice in?
- Who has never take the step of baptism?
- What recent significant experiences have our members had?
- How new are members to the group, or to following Christ?
- What unique service skills/abilities do my group members have?
- Who would benefit from a course like Starting Point?
- What challenges do members have?
2. Where Is God Working? (Celebrate)
Find ways to celebrate things that are happening in the group and in the lives of people in your group. If you’re having a hard time identifying things to celebrate, perhaps your definition of a win is a bit too narrow. Have the people in your group shared their stories? Helping people focus and understanding that “being known” is an essential part of your group experience. There is something very powerful about sharing your story. People are impacted by stories. Real-life examples of life change will inspire members to want experience the same. This may not be natural for everyone, but it will show that every person has value and everyone will benefit from the experience.
3. How Can We Improve? (Innovate)
We’ve all heard of the “less is more” principle—it definitely applies to group life. Summer schedules have probably been a challenge and your meetings less-frequent. As you re-set your weekly meeting rhythm, you will be more effective as a community group leader if you narrow your focus in your group time. Spend several weeks tackling the basics of what you do in group: study God’s Word, pray for each other, fellowship, care for one another, etc. Do a topical study on each of these components of the group and re-focus on why we do what we do. Pull out your group covenant and revisit it as a group: Where are you doing well in upholding those expectations? Where is there room for improvement? Leverage this time to promote less so that later you can achieve more. Simplifying will help refine the vision for your group and provide opportunity to make necessary changes going forward to better facilitate life change among the members of your group.