3 Ways To Help Your Groups Members Grow
Most group leaders have found themselves at one point or another stressed about the growth, or lack of growth, of their group members. And no this is not in reference to the massive amounts of babies that have been born at Ignite recently. To my knowledge they are all growing just fine. But on a spiritual note we want our group members to be having progression instead of regression in their next steps with Jesus.
We plan bible studies, and service projects with the hopes of setting people up for success and lots of times basically beg people to walk closer to Jesus. The issue for most of us comes when our group members don’t take the audacious steps of faith we know they should, and WE feel like failures.
On this thought I have good news and bad news. The bad news is… you are not in control of the spiritual growth of your group members. The good news however, is…you are not in control of the spiritual growth of your group members!
The burden of your group members growing spiritually rests ultimately between them and Jesus. All you can do as a leader is do your best to plant and water, and watch Jesus produce the life change (1st Corinthians 3:6). Here in this scripture we see that Paul is frustrated because people had the same trouble understanding that growth comes from Jesus and not us. With that being said, we do still have a role to play in our group members lives. All the studies we prepare, questions we ask, and environments we try to create are doing one of 3 things and we NEED to continue to do them:
1. “Water” your relationships.
To grow spiritually, people have to be connected relationally. It is a core value that we have as a church and we see throughout the Bible that, you can’t do life alone. As I grow as a leader this value could not be more true. Not only do we need to be connecting with people in our groups, but it is also our role to help our groups be a place where people can connect with one another as well. This can be as simple as making coffee for your group to ease the stress from the work day, or taking a week to do something outside for fun with your group. Your group members will see how you value the relational side of growth and many of them, whether they realize it or not, will reflect that value as well.
2. Get your hands dirty.
People don’t grow simply from learning information, but rather acting on, and experiencing the truths that they learn. The more a person feels like he or she owns the learning process, the more likely he or she is to apply the lessons learned. That’s why promoting participation, although sometimes messy, is so important in groups. Sharing tasks like facilitating discussions, hosting meetings, preparing snacks, leading prayer times, planning socials, and guiding the curriculum choice help group members feel greater ownership of the group. And group members who feel ownership are more likely to connect with one another relationally and participate more fully during discussion times.
...The more we celebrate what Jesus died for, the more people understand what your group prioritizes.
3. Celebrate Growth.
Most people fail to see it when they are headed down a wrong path, and lots of times the reverse is also just as true. When people change and begin to walk closer to Jesus, as leaders we are uniquely blessed to be able to see it more clearly and to celebrate that growth! Whether you mention it to your group during a normal week or you throw a dance party the more we celebrate what Jesus died for, the more people understand what your group prioritizes. One of my most fond small group memories is when we threw a baptism party for a group member that took the plunge on a Sunday morning at Ignite! It was a huge moment for her and it gave an awesome opportunity for our group to celebrate the change that had taken place!
Doing these 3 things are things you probably already do to some degree but there is always value in providing yourself with clarity and direction for yourself when leading your group. Take some of these ideas and think of ways you could incorporate them into your group. You know your group best and what would work for them. As always, I’m praying for you and your groups and believing God for continued growth in you and your groups!