What–or, more precisely, who–is missing from many small groups? In my last post, I wrote about the model of small groups many of us have taught for years. But we were wrong. We were leaving out what was most important.

The power for small group health, growth, and multiplication comes not from a model, program, or even one’s leadership abilities. It is vital to remember that God owns everything.We are simply managers. You are not the real leader or shepherd of the small group under your care. You are not the center of the group. If everyone in your small group sat in a circle, closed their eyes, and then simultaneously pointed to the group leader, they should all point upward!

“The Best Small Group Leader Ever” prayed to the Father about his group:

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place;Then you gave them to me, And they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you. (John 17:6, 7,TheMessage)

Jesus modeled steward-leadership well for his followers. He knew they really belonged to the Father, but that the Father had given them to him to lead as an act of stewardship.He modeled for them, and us, that everything God gives us is firsthand from him: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing.Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” ( John 5:19, NLT).

In other words, Jesus always pointed up!
This post is adapted from Chapter 1 of The Pocket Guide to Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership (Touch Publications.)

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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