It is difficult to imagine how a leader can effectively communicate to the home group—verbally and by modeling—excitement and direction for evangelism and discipleship without healthy leaders meetings that evaluate the success and direction of the group. Here is a brief guide on how leaders meetings can help a home group "stay the course."
Here are some potential barriers to good leaders meetings:
1. Leaders meetings need someone to chair the meeting.Their role includes collecting possible agenda items (soliciting these a few days ahead of time helps people prepare), deciding which items will be discussed and which won't be, and prioritizing those to be discussed first. Soliciting from the others clearly communicates that their views are important to the meeting but also is an excellent training tool to encourage leaders and sit-in trainees to think about the group (Heb. 10:24). The chairperson also helps move the meeting along to make certain it doesn't get unnecessarily bogged down. Often they determine either that a decision can't be reached and should be discussed again at the next meeting, or they might make a decision if consensus was unable to be reached but a decision needed to be made. Usually, the chairperson is the senior leader of the leadership team.
2. What is the mission of the home group?Evangelism and discipleship? If so, it is logical that discussions on outreach, follow-up, discipleship and leadership training should occupy the majority of time spent in a leaders meeting. How do you do this with so much else going on which need to be managed? If you try to get rid of the painful issues and event planning first, you'll never get to what you know is most important. You must consciously do what is most important first and then leave a little time at the end of the meeting to deal with one or two of the more pressing matters. In our group, we typically do all of the event planning logistics outside of this meeting. Handle the others via telephone or email communications (this is not to say try to resolve the actual problem that way, but the advice/decision process that must go on between the leaders).
3. Spiritual maturity in leaders meeting is foundational if there is to be unity of purpose.Leaders meetings are exciting if leaders and trainees receive input and admonition with a desire to grow and to 'be useful to the Master for every good work' (2 Tim. 2:20-21). In other words, receive correction maturely. "Spiritual maturity" is a relative quality, and God will use input in leaders meetings to mature us. Yet, there needs to be evidence of maturity in this respect before inviting a trainee to sit in the meetings.
4. The frequency of the leaders meetingwill help determine how focused you can be on what's most important. This depends in part on the age range of your home group—if you are primarily single or married without children, you can probably meet more frequently than leadership teams that are primarily with married couples and children. At least monthly leaders meetings will keep issues well in hand and forward progress on evangelism, follow-up, and discipleship maintained. Two hours is usually enough time to accomplish most of what is needed. Many groups find it helpful to link this meeting with a night where you are going to be out anyway. For example, if your group starts at 8:00 p.m., start the leaders meeting at 6 at or close to where the group is, order pizza or subs so people don't have to stop to eat first. Spending 15 or 20 minutes eating and fellowshipping first reconnects one another before getting to the agenda.