Barrier-Breaking Small-Group Leaders "Go First!"

If you want to take your group to higher levels of growth, maturity, and mission—you have to go there first.

Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier when he became the first person to fly an airplane faster than the speed of sound. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball when he became the first black player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Roger Bannister became the first person to break the 4-minute mile barrier when he ran the distance in 3 minutes 59 seconds! The thing that makes these barrier-breaking people special is they "went first" in their particular area of activity.

Probably like most of you, I haven't broken any barriers that will get my name in world-record books. But, as a small group leader, there are many practices where I need to be a barrier-breaker for my small group—many areas of activity where I need to "go first." That's not to say I'm disagreeing with Jesus' words that the "first will be last, and the last first." (Matt. 19:30) Rather, when I say "go first," I'm simply agreeing with Jesus' words when He said: "I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you." (John 13:15) Like Jesus, Barrier-breaking small group leaders will be an example and model to their small group by "going first" in many areas of New Testament Church life.

As I have looked back at the last 15 years or so of being a small group leader, small group coach and small group pastor, I've connected with many group leaders having a variety of personality types and backgrounds. Many of those leaders were able to facilitate a good Bible discussion and create some context for Christian community. However, I've observed that regardless of personality, some group leaders become barrier-breakers for their groups and some do not. The difference? Barrier-breaking small group leaders help their group members ...

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