Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Every (small group) Leader Should Know - pt. 1

A question I have been pondering in my mind recently (since a recent meeting with my pastor) is ...
WHAT should Small Group leader's know??

Kind of a loaded question, but I hope in my ramblings about life and ministry experience, I can give a bit of an answer that is useful.

IF I have learned one thing in life and ministry it is this...
1. Ministers/Leaders MUST be & learn to be servants first!

You see in the new testament church, there came a point when certain widows were being overlooked. This wasn't an intentional thing, but the "12" were so busy serving and trying to keep everyone going in the right direction (and there were so many new ones daily) that they couldn't do it all anymore, at that point there arose a need for others to be "Appointed" to the role of serving! - These men weren't the holiest looking, and they didn't always say the right thing - BUT they were "known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom" (acts 6:3)
This is one of these times in the theological world known as the "Law of First Reference" and VERY IMPORTANT in church leadership. This is the first place in the New Testament Church where we clearly see the appointing of church leaders other than the "Primary Leader(s)" and what are they?? Servants!! Appointed Servants!
***caution - personal commentary content here ***
I think this particular point has been missing in the church at large for
a long time. You see the world has a view of the church as anything but
a serving organization... Leaders fall into the place of being "Spiritual Money
Launderers" because they have been put into leadership based on how they look,
what they say, or what Seminary they attended, and NOT because they were FIRST
appointed as servants b/c they were "Full of the spirit and Wisdom"!

IF small group leaders (or any leader for that matter) can learn THIS first... Operating as a servant regardless if title, position, or anyone even knowing their name--- they will be on the road to becoming GREAT in the kingdom!

That's just the beginning --- Serving never stops!

2. Leaders MUST learn to put others FIRST!

This one can be affected tremendously by the personality of the individual, but I will try to talk through some of that as well.

What does it mean to put other's first? Well, let's start with Zacchaeus ....
When learning to be & become a better leader, it is important that we take our cues from the best leaders of the bible, starting with the "Mac" of all leaders -- Jesus. With this particular story we see Jesus walking down the street amongst a large crowd, when things take a bit of a turn...
The bible doesn't say much about zacchaeus other than he was THE chief tax collector and was wealthy... it also goes on to say (Luke 19:1-3) He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. --
Here is a very interesting point... He wanted to see "Who Jesus Was" -- Nothing more. He wasn't looking for a miracle, or healing... He wasn't looking for the key to life... the universe... and everything (42) ... He wasn't looking for the spiritual existentialism that most would die for... He simply wanted to see who Jesus was!
Next up is where we very clearly see "Who Jesus Is" in this light. What does Jesus do?? Sees him, and says... "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."
You see as an effective leader we MUST learn to put others needs above our own, or above our expectation of their needs... I will say this at the risk of upsetting a lot of more traditional church "leaders" but sometimes what the people really need is NOT another event, NOT a bible study, NOT a great band on Sunday... what they need is a REAL, PERSONAL, and DEFINABLE connection and experience with the LIVING God!!! Can You SEE THAT!!! That is HUGE as a leader! People really need GOD more than they need YOU... but we are here to be used by God to be that connection sometimes, and more importantly to point people to God, then get out of the way!

I promise you ... 5 min experiencing the true and LIVING God can change your life more, and leave you happier than 1000 sermons I can give and weeks/months/years of counseling I could provide.

***caution - personal commentary content here ***
I have seen time and time again, leaders miss this by thinking THEY are what is going to change the people. Take for instance... worship service, someone engaged in worship, you can see that God is working on/in them... so what do I do ... Well I need to Help God Out" so I put my hands on them and begin to pray......... WOAH!!!!! Back That Up!!!!! Since WHEN does God need us to "Help Him Out" when he is clearly working without us in that situation??? .... Here's what happens... As soon as I/YOU/WE decide to put our hands on someone who 1 has not asked, or 2 is in a place where God is working and they are oblivious to their surroundings... we immediately call attention to ourselves, and take their focus off from God and put on US... I am NOT that big to be a proxy for God!!! Sorry, Won't do it!!! I am here to point people TO God, then get out of the way, not stand there and translate.

Which brings us to a close for today (gotta get some work done) But I will try to write more soon!!!


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