Yesterday, I posted about being Purposely UNbalanced in life. I’ve found that it’s impossible to be truly balanced in ministry as well, especially when it comes to leading a small group.

As I’ve often said, leading a healthy group is much like riding a mountain bike. The only time I’m close to being perfectly balanced is when I’m standing still, straddling the top tube with both feet on the ground. But that’s no way to interact with a bike … or with a group.

“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NLT).  

On the bike, there’s a time to lean left and a time to lean right. There’s a time to move my weight forward to gain speed, and a time to move backwards so I don’t endo (flip over the handlebars). Bike handling is all about making decision on the trail. As I lead my group there’s a time for more community, especially at the beginning of a new group or as new people join you. There’s a time for more and deeper study and discussion of the Bible. There’s a time for more prayer, more worship, more serving, and there are times to refrain from some of these.

There’s a time to invest into a hurting person in your group, and there’s a time to confront a group member’s sinful lifestyle. There’s a time to encourage a couple who are struggling in their marriage or with their kids, and there’s a time to speak the truth in love to spouses or parents who need it. There’s a time to invest into your Core Team and there’s a time to invest into other members of the group.

You know the times as you and your group experience God’s presence. He will guide you as you live by his timetable rather than your own. If you want to learn how to do this better, read the Gospel of John and study how Jesus lived his life according to the Father’s timetable. Jesus always knew what time it was!

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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 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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