As the leader of a small group, have you ever done any of the following? (I am speaking from experience here):
- prayed that nobody in your group would show up?
- prayed that everyone would show up and had nobody show up?
- gone out of town and had your wife lead the group (and been happy about it?)?
- "winged it" and failed miserably?
- offended or hurt a group member through an absolute misunderstanding?
- invited ten people and had none of them show up?
Things like this tend to have an eroding effect on our confidence as leaders. They are symptoms of weariness, fatigue, discouragement, and burnout. As a leader you will surely experience times of boundless joy and times of inadequacy, confusion, and seeming defeat.
One of the greatest qualities of leaders is that they are risk takers. Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win mighty triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." The disciple Peter lived a life that was characterized by this kind of courage.
Sustaining or increasing our motivation as leaders of small groups is one of the most important elements of effective ministry. It's when discouragement and burnout set in that we quit or else desire to quit. We all know the promises of God that "we are more than conquerors" in Christ (Romans 8:37), and yet that doesn't always seem to apply to our efforts. Our definitions and expectations of success often snuff out the encouragement that the Lord desires to continually bring to our hearts.
Jared Roth introduced me to a model that identifies three absolutely essential elements of our makeup as small group leaders. ...