I lead Bible class at my church from time to time, so I was struck by this image of “the miraculous small group leader” in an advertisement for smallgroup.com in Pastor Resources magazine recently.
I decided to take look at each trait described in this image and see what I could learn from it and think of ways to apply it to my own leading of my Bible class small group.
- Coffee aura. While I don’t drink coffee, I have gotten into the habit of bringing a soda can with me in an effort to calm any nerves I might have. In the process I have learned that having a beverage of any kind in my hand breeds a sense of familiarity, a humanness, an approachability that opens up participants to feel freer to engage in conversations and feel comfortable doing so. Having a “coffee aura” gives leaders a vibe that we are all in this together. We all need something to get us going in the morning. We are all seeking to know God more. I am not there to dictate all the answers, but just to start a dialog about what it means to be a faithful Christian in this world today.
- Contains Piper, Spurgeon and Seuss. I am proud to say I was familiar with two of the three names mentioned here, and I find it funny that I have come to class with a satchel just like that to many a class with all my notes and books for reference inside. John Piper (as I now know) is the founder and teacher of desiringgod.org and a gifted contemporary preacher and prolific author. Charles Spurgeon (whom I did know of and have read!) was a British preacher in the late 1800s who remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, and is known as the “Prince of Preachers.” Dr. Suess, of course, is the beloved children’s book author whose whimsical and rhyming tales continue to capture the imagination of young and old alike.
What I take away from these names is that I as a small group leader need to be aware of who is “on trend” in the Christian world today, who is still revered by fellow Christians and who continues to spark the creative spirit within us. Keeping my finger on the pulse of what is out there currently will help me in discussing and answering questions participants have. Knowing what theological views have stood the test of time will give me grounding and credence in the responses I give. And keeping it light and fun as much as possible throughout will help to keep people interested and will not make people feel threatened in any way.
- Heart for community. I am still working on this, but one thing that we always do in each class is end with a “popcorn” prayer, where people are just free to share whatever petitions are on their minds that they feel comfortable to speak. I then am available after class to talk if anyone wants to. Another thing that I am trying to do more is to make sure that everyone who wants to say something in class gets to say something. I never want people to feel like they are not heard or were overlooked. I am learning to keep my eyes peeled for raised hands. Community can only happen in a small group when everyone feels valued and welcomed and included. I hope that my small group is such a place, and I pray that the small groups you are a part of are places of Christian love and unity as well. I pray God continues to work within all who gather in his name, even if they all may not be lead by “the most perfect small group leader ever.”