Leading Solo No More (part 1)

How to develop a core team of leaders from your existing small group
Page 2 of 3

This is a fundamental first step, but don't fake it! Allowing Christ to be leader of your group will come naturally if he is first leader of your life. Move toward surrender as each day passes, but remember that sanctification is a process. You don't need to reach perfection to lead your group in this way.

Before your group can take additional steps toward team-based leadership, each person must know the real leader of the group. This step starts with your heart. You must truly believe that God is the real leader and Christ is in control of you and your group. Explore this concept with your group members in upcoming meetings and enter into Christ's presence, experience his power, and embrace his purposes for your lives together. This will prepare you and your group for what lies ahead.

2. Share the Load
Once you and your group recognize the real leader of the group, it's time to partner with him to build your core team from your existing group. This is where some of the leaders I work with struggle. They don't know whom to recruit! Some don't see any potential team members. Others feel every member should be on the team. Or they think no one will say yes to their request. And some know one or two group members will be jealous if they are not approached to be core team members.

The selection process does not have to be difficult or fraught with potential conflict or rejection. Here are a few secrets I've found that work.

Abandon your desire to recruit!
Ask the Lord of the Harvest—the real leader of your group—to show you who should serve on your core team. These will be just two or three persons with whom you will share leadership. Do not move ahead in your own power or with your own ideas about who your core team members should be. Ask God and then wait and watch for his response.

I have found that this single action (waiting) is one of the most difficult things for small-group leaders to do. It often feels more natural to run ahead and get something done. But, just as the apostles waited in an upper room for the Father to empower them, you must wait for the Father to empower you with running mates through the working of his Spirit.

What to do if no one looks like a potential core team member
If you think no one in your group could be a core team member, surrender your own thoughts, pray, and faithfully wait for God's reply. You might be surprised! Or, God may move a new person into your group who could be a core team member. You must believe that "God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be" (1 Corinthians 12:18). He will—or already has—put every part of your core team in the group, just where he wants them to be.

Some group leaders have unrealistic expectations of potential core team members. Rather than looking for potential, they look for perfection. Rather than looking at the heart, they look at external factors such as Bible knowledge, teaching skills, personality strengths, and leadership abilities. The best leaders are those who don't necessarily have any of these outward appearances, but they do have humble, godly hearts. If you don't believe me, just look at Jesus' disciples!

Who in your group can serve from the second chair with you? Who has gifts that complement yours? With whom do you enjoy spending time? Who has a humble servant's heart? These are the kinds of people the Holy Spirit might lead you to. But don't listen to me; listen to God!

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