Reproducing Leaders (Part 3)


“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” – Colossians 1:28 ESV

What is the motive behind reproducing leaders? One motive is helping fellow believers embrace what God has called them to be as mature Christians.

What is maturity in Christ for those in your small group? How would you describe it? Maturity in Christ is more than simply having someone join your small group and assigning them to bring cookies or to open the night in prayer. Maturity in Christ is leading others into their full potential in their giftedness. Many Christians are on the sidelines in ministry, and whether their reasons appear legitimate or not, they need to be spurred on in their service to the Body. That can take on several different forms, and for some that next step of maturing in their faith is leading a new small group.

This is the very thing that Paul “struggled with all his energy” (v.29). Are you expending your energy to develop those in your small group to be mature in Christ and take on greater leadership? It’s easy to let them attend each week, but how are you coaching them to be greater vessels in the hands of God?

Reproducing Leaders (Part 2)


“So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” – Acts 9:31

Here in Acts 9, the church is described as having exponential growth throughout the entire region. And when the whole church multiplies and grows, there is a demand for new leaders to step up and embrace what God has called them to do. Developing new leaders is essential to being a healthy church. Developing new leaders calls believers to be faithful stewards of the gifts God has given them. Developing new leaders needs to be the mindset of every small group leader if we are to reach new spheres of influence within Washington, D.C. It might be hard; it might be out of your comfort zone; it might challenge you more than what you “signed up for” as a small group leader. But new leaders need to be trained and released for ministry if the gospel is to have a multiplying work in our area.

So who in your group is ready to lead? Are they able to lead a new 8 week group? Or who are you preparing to take on new leadership? If no one, what is your one year game plan to develop a new leader by next fall? Continue praying for the new leader God wants you to develop for leadership, then let them lead.

Reproducing Leaders

For our small group ministry to thrive, it is essential for each one of us to reproduce leaders. This will be our topic over the next few Lifelines installments. 1 Peter 4:10 makes it clear that every single follower of Jesus Christ has at least one spiritual gift: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” As small group leaders, we have the privilege of encouraging our members to use their spiritual gifts to serve the rest of the group. My own personal leadership has been greatly impacted by others who spoke into my life and encouraged me to develop my spiritual gifts. God uses leaders to develop the potential in others so that He can multiply leadership within the body of Christ. Do you know the spiritual gifts of the people you lead? If you don’t, consider spending a group night sharing what each person’s spiritual gifts are. If the group is made up of relatively new believers, consider doing a spiritual gifts assessment together. If you do know the spiritual gifts of the people you lead, consider how you might encourage them to use their gifts in serving the group or the larger body of Christ. Good leaders beget good leaders.

Authentic Community (Part 4)

 

Last week we talked about cultivating real authentic accountability in our small groups. We acknowledged the fact that many of us have had experiences with accountability that left us less than favorable towards cultivating it within our group. In this lifeline, I would like to suggest what elements make for non-productive accountability and conversely the elements that are essential for productive accountability.

  1. Non-productive accountability is forced! You must get the people in your group to willingly buy into the idea so that it is 100% voluntary.
  2. Productive accountability deals in specifics as opposed to generalities. For instance, general would be to say, “I’m struggling with a sin issue”, while specific would sound like, “I’ve noticed a pattern of sinful anger in my life when it comes to disciplining my children.” (Tip: as a leader you should gently ask clarifying questions when a person gives information that is very general).
  3. Non-productive accountability is a dump fest where people share their issues of sin and temptation but it doesn’t lead to change. Accountability functions best when there is follow up and intentionality about pursuing personal holiness. (Tip: be sure to celebrate spiritual victories when growth has occurred in a member’s life)
  4. Productive accountability is bathed in scripture as opposed to a lot of human advice/opinions. The question should always be, “How does scripture inform our thinking about this specific area of discussion?” (Tip: try to guard against too many opinions that are not anchored in scripture).
  5. Finally, productive accountability is down right surgical! It can be a painful process for people to get to the heart of an issue of spiritual deficiency but accountability aims at doing Romans 8:13, “Put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit.” Non-productive accountability simply puts a band-aid on a situation but people aren’t challenged to change/heal/grow.

I want to encourage you to use these elements in order to evaluate the way your group does accountability or to help you cultivate an element of accountability within your small group. If you’re at the beginning stages it is crucially important to cast vision to the group and to lead by example. I really believe that authentic accountability will help your small group grow deeper both relationally and spiritually.

Authentic Community (Part 3)

One of the ways I’ve seen God dispense a powerful measure of sanctifying grace in my life is through accountability with the people I’m in community with. This will be our topic for the next two Lifelines. Now let me just say that I am totally aware that your small group may not be ready for real accountability. We understand that. Real, authentic accountability can only develop over time, but what you must be aware of as a leader is that without “intentionality” it won’t develop!

In some Christian circles, there is a negative connotation when we think about accountability, a stigma even. Maybe you’ve tried it in the past and it yielded little fruit or maybe you were in an accountability group with someone who wasn’t trustworthy and you ended up getting burned. Whatever your past experience was or your present apprehension is, I believe with my whole heart that God can and will do amazing things to grow you and the members of your group in Christ-likeness, if you will be intentional about developing real, authentic accountability in your small group. Next week I’ll discuss some very practical things about accountability and give you some tips on implementation, but for today I want to give you two things to think about:

  • Accountability is not just for people who are struggling with a pattern of glaring immorality. Immorality is not the only thing that could shipwreck one’s faith, for instance:
    • A root of bitterness could destroy someone over time.
    • Pride/arrogance can lead to immeasurable sorrow.
    • Poor leadership in a marriage could lead to divorce.
    • Poor stewardship could lead to financial ruin and a crisis of faith.
  • Accountability is preventative—not just restorative! It functions as a preserving agent in the lives of believers who are deeply committed to practicing it in community.

What is the level of real accountability in your small group? Pray this week and ask God for his direction and ask him for the wisdom you will need to lead your group towards a deeper level of authentic, biblical accountability with each other.