The less your group is about you as the leader, the more replicable it will be in the long run. Often the biggest barrier to multiplication is a small-group leader who does everything. As a result, participants so identify him or her with the group that they can't mentally picture the group apart from the person leading it.
Plus, when a group leader has taken the lead on everything, group members don't know how to function apart from that individual. They feel lost even at the thought of it.
So, sometimes the best thing you can do as a leader is to stop doing things! Look for ways to engage others in the group—even if it would be easier for you to just handle those tasks yourself. You need to think about the big picture.
With that in mind, here are some practical ways you can go about sharing different responsibilities in your group:
- Have a snack list. This way different people bring food each week, rather than having the leader or host always take care of it.
- Rotate homes. Hosting a small-group meeting in your home helps you feel increasingly part of the group. So don't always meet at the same place. I prefer meeting one month at a time at someone's house, and then rotating to the next volunteer for the following month. If you have a reason for meeting at the same place each week, look for times when you could meet somewhere else for a shorter period—rotate over the summer, for example, or if the host is away on vacation.
- Change your thinking. Rather than automatically doing something that needs to be done for the group, let your first thought be, "Who else in our group could do this just as well as me?"
- Find "champions" for different areas of group life. For example, have a Childcare Champion who is totally responsible for overseeing all the childcare arrangements. Find a Worship Champion. Recruit a Social Champion to organize and promote your monthly social or ministry events.
As the leader of the group, you need to think like the President of a corporation. It's not your job to do everything as much as it is your job to oversee things in a way that makes sure everything gets done.
The more you allow others to participate, the more it will be their small group. And the healthier the group will be!
—Jay Firebaugh is the Director of Small Groups at New Life Church in Gahanna, OH. You can check out practical tools for pastors and small-group leaders on his All About Small Groups Facebook page.