Being an effective leader demands a planning and a prayerful heart.
When you go to prepare for each small group meeting, review the session and the leader's notes, and write down your responses to each question. Pay special attention to exercises that ask group members to do something other than engage in discussion. These exercises will help your group live what the Bible teaches, not just talk about it. Be sure you understand how an exercise works, and bring any necessary supplies (such as paper or pens) to your meeting.
Also, as you prepare, pray for your group members by name. Before you begin your session, go around the room in your mind and pray for each member. You may want to review the prayer list at least once a week. Ask God to use your time together to touch the heart of every person. Expect God to lead you to whomever he wants you to encourage or challenge in a special way. If you listen, God will surely lead!
One final challenge (especially for new or first-time leaders): Before your first opportunity to lead, look up each of the five passages listed below. Read each one as a devotional exercise to help prepare yourself with a shepherd's heart:
- Matthew 9:36
- 1 Peter 5:2-4
- Psalm 23
- Ezekiel 34:11-16
- 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 11-12