Protecting the Marriages & Families of Your Small-Group Leaders

Sometimes, the very systems we put in place to encourage strong marriages have the unintended effect of hurting the couples who are leading them.

True confessions … with all the recent news about cloning, the thought has actually crossed my mind: Boy, I sure do wish I could clone several of the "sharper" couples who are leading small groups in our church.

I know, I know … the whole cloning idea is morally and ethically repugnant. I would not actually resort to that technology even if it was 100% foolproof, but the fact is this: gifted, experienced, God-loving couples with a passion to lead small groups are few and far between. Therefore, when we church leaders discover a husband-wife team with a solid marriage and a growing walk with God, what do we do? We tend to load them down with responsibilities and work them to death! Is it not ironic that the very systems and ministries we put in place to try to build strong marriages and families, sometimes have the unintended effect of hurting the couples who lead them?

Since cloning is not an option (and since it takes time to develop new couples for leadership roles), we need to make sure we take good care of the marriages and families of our leaders. How do we do that?

Here are some practical thoughts:

Guard!—The Apostle Paul urged us to, "look out … for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4, NASV). By way of application, this means we must absolutely refuse to resort to guilt or pressure tactics in our own recruiting. It also means we will need to stand up for those personality types who cannot say "no," and who are easily manipulated into more and more church involvement. You will need to guard these good-hearted couples from zealous staff members or pushy committee heads. Let your lead couples know it really is okay to turn down additional responsibilities. Also, keep an eye out for those ...

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