In another small group that combined a seeker, people brand-new to their faith, and long-time believers, I worried about engaging everyone. Incredibly, we all walked away with deeper faith, having been challenged by the other group members. The younger-to-faith asked questions that others hadn’t thought about before. The more mature Christians were able to share incredible insights. The seeker found a safe place to share doubts and questions. There were nights that I wondered if we’d accomplished anything at all, but as I look back on the group as a whole, I see incredible growth and depth—and it’s still one of my favorite group experiences.
Despite my worries in both groups, God worked in mighty ways—and that’s the way he does it. Trust that God is in control and he will work in ways only he can. I’ve found it helpful to, instead of worrying about doing everything right, focus on what God is doing in my group in that moment and join him there. Some nights that means listening as we get off on an important tangent. Other times that’s calling on quieter group members to ensure everyone feels heard. What’s more important than getting it all right, is paying attention to the Spirit as best as you can—and then apologizing and remedying the situation when we get it wrong.
Yes, being a small-group leader is a big responsibility. Yes, it’s important to prepare for meetings. But remember that it’s not rocket science. Rather, your role is to show up, to do the best you can do in the moment, and to be humble enough to course-correct if need be. There are plenty of reasons to be anxious, but don’t let your anxiety keep you from experiencing one of the best adventures of your life. Your group members may just need someone exactly like you to lead them—and you may just need a group just like them to grow.
—Amy Jackson is managing editor of SmallGroups.com, a small-group leader, and a former small-group minister.