When Katie asked to get together to talk about small groups, I readily agreed. She was bright and perceptive, an excellent leader. She loved her small group and they loved her, but that is not what her body language conveyed. Her shoulders drooped, her eyes were dull, and her face blank as she shoved a paper across the desk toward me. "We had our small-groups kick-off meeting last night, and this is what I got from my coach—another list of expectations." She sighed deeply. "I don't know if I can go on." The burden she carried, she said, was that of living up to everyone's expectations. She was burned out from trying to balance the needs and demands of her group members with those of her small-group coach and program. She knew other leaders who felt the same.
As I listened, my mind flashed back to an earlier conversation that I had had with Steve, another small-group leader. His demeanor stood in sharp contrast to Katie's. A bright smile lit his face as he talked about his small group coach. In fact, he glowed. "I love my small group coach," he confessed. "He is my confidante and encourager. I know he prays for me daily. I don't know what I would do without him."
What a contrast, and what a peek into what small-group leaders really need.
PEOPLE AND PRINCIPLES—NOT PROGRAMS AND POSITIONS
The most notable difference between Katie and Steve was in how valued they felt as individuals. Katie felt her coach's expectations for the growth of their small group program; Steve felt his coach's care and concern for Steve and his group members' spiritual growth. Katie felt the pressure to conform and comply with programs and positions. Steve experienced the freedom and empowerment to pursue what God was blessing and put people ...