I've had several leaders tell me no one from their group would step up to be a core team member if asked. They're too busy. They don't think they have the skills. They don't know the Bible enough. I've discovered these same people will say yes more often than I think if a couple things are true:
- I've prayed and determined they're called to serve on the team. How can they say no when God is calling them to it? Allow God to soften their hearts and prepare them to team-lead by praying hard for them before you approach them.
- I've cast a compelling vision for team-leadership. They must understand the value for sharing leadership as a team (rather than leading as a one-person show). They must see how their contribution to the team will help produce more and better fruit. They must see how their gifts and passions will be used to help the group grow. They must understand that I simply cannot, and will not, lead alone any longer. By helping them see that whatever extra time commitment it will take—and it's usually not that big of a time commitment if you are truly sharing leadership—it will be well worth it.
- I ask them to join a team rather than just performing a task. They will have certain tasks on the team, but there is more to being on a team than just the tasks involved. Share how you will interact as a team: you desire to not only share leadership with them, but to really seek a deeper friendship, a partnership, and become running mates. Plan times when the core team will get together over dinner, for instance.
One of the reasons I've found that people hesitate to be on a team is that they see a leader who does too much. As the group's steward leader, you must grow in your ability to allow others to participate. You can't keep doing everything yourself! You must learn to trust others with leadership, even if they don't do things exactly like you or as well as you might do the same task.
Some gifted leaders can lead incredible studies they wrote themselves, shepherd the group by calling people and visiting with them between meetings, and plan serving events for the group without breaking a sweat. Their group is in awe of this "Superleader." No one thinks they could ever lead that well. Surely the Superleader does not need anyone's help, right?
If you are Superleader, resign from doing everything. Lead from the second chair, not the first, and then use your extra time and leadership abilities to find ways to get others involved in helping you lead. Humbly back off from doing everything. If you are a perfectionist—which drives a Superleader to do everything and do it with excellence—make sure you are leading for the right reasons, and not out of needing people to be in awe of you rather than God.
—Excerpted from Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership (TouchUSA, 2009), by Michael Mack. Used with permission.