by Steve Gladen
Summer is a great time to reflect on your leadership. You are between the “start of the year” season of ministry and also the “fall season” wrapping up the end of the year. For me personally, monthly I look at my personal spiritual health planner and see where I’m at with personal spiritual goals, course correct, and push into the next month. It’s kind of like my spiritual tune up. The same is true for my leadership. For me summer is a season that I can take a deep breath, pause, and evaluate. I like to look at five attributes of my leadership that affects our Small Group Ministry.
Am I taking a risk? Comfort zones can be stabilizing times, but they can also be a barrier to the next level of ministry for you and your team. A good question to ask yourself is – Where are you taking a risk in ministry? When I use the word, risk, I mean, is there a new way you need to do ministry that may be better? If money wasn’t a barrier what would you do? Once you answer that, what are different ways to accomplish that goal with the funds you have? If you added a zero to your goal, how would you accomplish the goal? For example, if your goal is to add ten groups new groups this fall, how would you accomplish this if 100 groups was the goal? So often the mother of invention is found in a lack of resources or personnel. What is a risk you want to take this fall?
Am I working our plan? This seems to be an oblivious question in leadership and prerequisite to accomplishing anything. But I have worked with many small group point people who have no plan other than surviving the week or month. Or if they do have a plan, it sits in a pretty notebook on a shelf. If you don’t have a 12 to 18 month plan for your small group ministry, I would highly encourage you to go to www.smallgroups.net/12 and register for our Global Small Group Online Conference September 14 and 15 called Twelve. If you act now, it will only cost you $25 as an individual or $125 for your church. A small price to pay for a huge investment. So, do you have a plan this fall to connect your people, grow your people, get them serving, see them apply evangelism and to worship unconditionally? What is the playbook your people are working off of? In my new book, Small Groups with Purpose, I outline Saddleback’s plan and playbook.
Am I inspecting what we have?
Proverbs 27:23 tells us to know the condition of our flocks. What I have learned in doing fulltime ministry for 29 years is that people only do what you inspect. Rick Warren taught me a great phrase, people don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect. For me, this is the hardest part of leadership. I hate meeting with people and making sure the ministry is going as we planned in the playbook. But you know what? Everything drifts unless you keep it on course. No one intentionally tries to not do what you want them to do, Satan just is a pro at getting people to stray from what the most important thing is to do. Question: How are you helping your people stay focused on your playbook?
Am I looking at the horizon? At Saddleback we have a saying – the shepherd picks the next pasture, not the sheep. What is out there in the future for your small group ministry? Your vision can generate the next wave of ministry to help build healthy individuals and healthy groups. Every ministry we are doing in our small groups, and the overall small group ministry, was dreamed and prayed about years ago. What are you dreaming about for your small group ministry? If you can’t answer this leadership question, get some people around you and spend a day to dream. Some aspects may happen sooner than you
Am I trusting God? The biggest part of leadership starts with you! You may say, “Well of course I trust God.” If you say that, the next question is, do your actions reflect that? Do you tithe 10% because you trust God can do more with your 90% than you can do with your 100%? Do you take a Sabbath because you trust God can do more with your 6 days than you can do with your 7 days? Do you trust God by putting His Word in your heart because He said to? Do you trust God to do spiritual disciplines because He said to? What area do you need to work on and improve on trusting God more? At Saddleback, we have an individual Spiritual Health Assessment and Planner to help people work on growing spiritually, thus trusting God more. Want to be used more by God? Work on this area.
I pray you can get your Small Group Ministry team (paid or volunteers) together and etermine how you can build on these leadership attributes and minister better to your area!
Steve Gladen is the Pastor of Small Group Community at Saddleback Church. His bestselling book, Small Groups With Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities was just released this summer.