Ben Reed provided a well-written article for Outreach Magazine. The article is entitled, 12 Pointers for Small Group Leaders. The article is relevant for small groups leaders and for Sunday School teachers.
I invite you to read the entire article, but I wanted to share the 12 relational tips. The tips (or pointers) in bold are from Ben. The comments are mine.
- Listen intently. Look them in the eyes. Listen to understand rather than to respond. Allow them to talk at least (if not more than) half of the time.
- Share your story. How can they follow your lead if you have not built up any trust? How can they trust you if they don’t know you? You are your story.
- Be authentic. Avoid the facade. Be open, honest, and transparent. Admit your struggles, failures, and challenges. Doing so helps group members do likewise.
- Be consistent. Love. Care. Listen. Repeat. Rather than producing boredom, it will create trust.
- Go over and above. Care beyond group time. Check on members. Write encouraging notes. I left my wife her two favorite flavors of Starburst on her piano keys where I knew she would find them. Small actions mean a lot.
- Love unexpectedly. Speak their love language. Pat them on the back. Offer words of affirmation. Provide an act of service. Spend time together. Send them a gift. Invest yourself. Invest your time.
- Give grace when it’s not deserved. There will be moments when group members are watching when your grace-filled responses will teach more than your words.
- Learn their kids’ names. Care enough to ask. Care enough to check on them and talk about them.
- Remember their birthdays and anniversaries. We all like to be remembered. Add them to your smartphone calendar. Then send a quick text, email, or call. Or mail a personal note in a card.
- Share a well-timed truth. Pray lots. Spend time in God’s Word. Prepare well. But be sensitive to the leadership of the Spirit. Look for the teachable moment. Share out of your care.
- Give your resources. When possible, give as you discover need. Give as an example. Give because you care.
- Be yourself. Don’t manufacture a persona. Be natural. Relax. Allow your personality to come through.
When you practice these relational tips, group sessions will be more meaningful. Relationships will be more vital. And growth as disciples will be more fruitful, even your own. Which of these tips need a bit more work this month? Start there. Be patient. The rewards are worth the wait! Make disciples. Be revolutionary!