Keep It Interesting
Jesus certainly wasn't boring, and your small-group discipleship elements shouldn't induce sleep, either. Regularly check with your groups to see which studies they're enjoying, growing with, and excited by. A simple small-group evaluation is what our groups do to track what's working, what's not, and what's next.
Help Groups Understand Their Role in Discipleship
Train your hosts and leaders to remember that their small groups are the best place for discipleship. Remind them that members of their groups are able to apply what they're learning to real-life situations immediately as they discuss what they're learning in the group.
As group members begin to see the applications of the studies to their lives, the lessons take on greater value, and thus are even more memorable. And being with real people who live real lives that model how to live the Christian life further embeds these lessons. Of course, there are occasional groups that are filled with dysfunctional people and don't have good models in them, but that's the subject of a different article.
Avoid Lopsided Leadership
Without a system and a structure to balance the five purposes (holistic discipleship), your small group will overemphasize the purpose that expresses the gifts and passions of its host or leader. So what do you do?
What you don't do is make the leader change his or her giftedness. What you do is play to the strengths of the leader and develop the other purposes that aren't the strengths of the leader by getting the other members of the group involved. This way, intentional discipleship won't be left out.
—Steve Gladen; copyright 2007 by the author and Saddleback Church. Used with permission.