At this point in your small group’s journey together, you’re as comfortable as family. You’ve shared sensitive information, walked through difficult conversations together, prayed for one another, laughed together, encouraged one another, and worshipped together. The next step in your group’s spiritual development is helping them embody 2 Timothy 2:2 – once we’ve each been discipled, we’re called to go and disciple others.
This doesn’t automatically mean every single person in your group must lead a small group at some point in the future; we are each gifted and called differently.
But it does mean we should encourage our people to intentionally think through what it means to make disciples who make disciples. Whether in a small group setting or through one-on-one relationships, we’re all called to take what we’ve been given in Christ and make it available to others.
And there’s no better time to start that process with your group than right now. You’ve become comfortable as a group and you’ve earned some relational cache as a facilitator. Leverage that for the good for the Kingdom.
First, start intentionally observing your group. Who is a natural host? Who is a natural leader? Who will others follow? Who spearheads service projects? What gifts, talents, and abilities do you see in your group? Encourage those people and give them opportunities to exercise those gifts by passing off small pieces
Second, make sure your leadership is transferrable. Often the folks in our group won’t want to lead because we’ve set the bar so high. That isn’t a bad thing, but make sure your lead in such a way that others gain confidence in their own potential leadership ability. Ask more questions, encourage more reflection, and invite others to participate. Don’t be afraid to teach, but emphasize your role as facilitator-of-material rather than fount-of-all-wisdom; this will ensure your leadership is transferrable.
Third, continue to consistently remind your group of our vision. We don’t gather in small groups to feed ourselves and make ourselves feel better. We are discipled so we can disciple others. Certainly we encourage one another, pray for one another, support one another, celebrate together, and become family. But those relationships are not ends-in-themselves. Rather, they are a means to an end, and that end is making disciples who make disciples.
There’s more to be said, but equipping our groups to go out and make disciples is a long process. Confidence won’t come over night. For now, focus on these three things. We’ll begin to build toward actionable goals soon. Until then, continue to love your group and pray for them. That’s the best place to start.