Question: I've done some reading, been through my church's leadership training, and I still don't think I could sum up my role as a small group leader with one word. Can you?
Answer: Sure! That's easy. FRIEND would be the single word I'd choose. Why? Everyone wants deep friendships. Here's what I think being a great small group leader/friend would look like:
F—Fellowship (and Food!). Adopt every one of your small group members as "temporary" best friends and choose them when you think about doing something fun, need help or want companionship. They're temporary because God has put you together for just a period of time. After that, they may be leading their own group and you'll adopt a new set of best friends to build the kingdom. This doesn't mean that you'll have to divorce them, though. I have deep friendships from past small groups that I will enjoy throughout my lifetime.
R—Redemption. Your cell members are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and are on a path to maturity in Christ. Love them sacrificially as Christ did, and don't let yourself become critical. Also, it's important that you help them share their redemption with their lost friends!
I—Invest. Spend time praying for and listening to each of your members. As you pray for your members daily, ask God to give you incredible insight into each person as they share at your weekly meetings. Meet with each member individually and ask them where they are spiritually and where they want to be a year from now. Then help them get there with the help of a mentor from your group.
E—Encourage. Cell members need lots of encouragement. Tell them how much you appreciate them when you visit with them. Affirm them in your group meetings. Brag about their value ...