A public apology to home-group leaders

Let me paint you a picture for a moment…you’re an enthusiastic, committed Christian with a deep desire to serve the Lord. Your Pastor recognises your potential and invites you to become a home group leader. Home groups are the heart and soul of connection and fellowship. Jesus chose to spend His time with people, caring, healing, listening, forgiving, teaching, and preaching. ‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.’ John 13:15 (NIV).

Eager and excited to serve Jesus, and be the ultimate small group leader, you step out in faith, start a home group, and invite a group of people into your home to demonstrate the Body of Christ in action. However, as the excitement of the first few group meetings wanes, you start to feel a little out of your depth or perhaps overwhelmed by the commitment required to shepherd your home group week in and week out.

Let me ask you a question or two…did you receive any training from your church? Were you supplied with training tools or resources? If you did, that’s a bonus. If you didn’t, it’s not hard to understand why you are feeling weary. First, let me personally extend my sincerest apologies to you. I’m sorry if you were thrown in the deep end without sufficient training, support, or resources. I’m sorry if you feel your other gifts have been marginalised by the sheer time commitment required to run a fruitful weekly home group. Mostly, I’m just sorry you are in this situation. I understand this is not a good feeling, and I have written this blog for you.

Home groups are more than just meeting for a cup of tea and a catch up once a week. It’s a place where you gather to share questions and thoughts, learn from each other, support each other in life and on your spiritual walk. It requires effort, energy, time, resources, passion, and a deep love for people. Leading a home group is no small commitment. So, I have compiled some practical tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of home group leader burn-out and the desert of the spiritually dry…

Get Practical

1. Have a trial period 

Set a limited timeframe or trial period for leading your home group. You don’t know if it will work until you try and committing to a whole year upfront can be daunting. Why not set a trial period of 6-weeks and then re-evaluate?

2. Share the load

Share the responsibility. Good leadership isn’t about control. Identify people in your group that have the ability and/or potential to lead/facilitate and delegate. Share the responsibility for hosting, bringing refreshments, taking prayer requests, leading discussions, planning social events, organising outreach activities etc. It will allow you more time to enjoy being part of your group while empowering, encouraging, and uplifting others.

3. Seek training

If your church doesn’t offer home group leader training, there are a wide range of books and websites offering tips, resources, and online training. You could also look at courses offered at your local community college. Group dynamics and small group facilitation skills reach far beyond the Christian home group.

4. Get the group praying! 

Make prayer the lifeblood of your group. Encourage your group to become prayer warriors and pray daily for each other. Don’t limit prayer to once a week when you meet together. Set up a WhatsApp or text message group so that everyone can actively pray throughout the week when needs arise (as they usually do). “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful”.  Colossians 4:2-6 (NIV).

Get Personal 

1. Love your people

Being a home group leader is all about LOVE and relationships. Each member of your group wants to feel like they belong, and they come every week to be seen and heard and to be prayed for whether they are conscious of it or not. Deep down, we all yearn for connection with people, to be appreciated and to draw closer to God.

2. Love yourself

Don’t wait until you are burnt out before you ask for help. Speak to your Pastor, a mentor, or a close confidant. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to change your mind. It’s ok to practice self-care and it’s ok to say you need a break. The Bible is very clear that we are designed to work hard and to rest. We are invited to rest in Jesus every day, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

3. Pray for and about your group

Include God in all your decisions, big and small. You have a direct line to our Father in Heaven and His spiritual wisdom through pray. Pray for your home group, acknowledging that it is in His hands, not yours. God chose you to lead your group and He will be the ultimate co-leader on your journey. ‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.’ 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV).

You are not alone 

As a home group leader, you need support, encouragement and prayer as much as anyone in your group. Having an external ministry coach, mentor or supervisor is a good way of getting the support you need. Kingdom Leaders empowers and encourages Christian leaders through Christian coaching, ministry mentoring and pastoral supervision. We will listen to your concerns, and work with you to achieve life balance, peace, fulfilment, and growth in line with God’s vision for your life and ministry. Book a FREE 30-minute Discovery Call with Kingdom Leaders today to see which support ministry is a best fit for you and your unique circumstances.

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