How to Help Your Group Members Keep Growing and Growing

How do you help maturing disciples to keep growing? Both the Bible and developmental psychology show that a natural next step for many of them is to step out and lead others.

1. The Bible, especially in Hebrews 5:11—6:1, assumes that a maturing follower of Jesus will eventually step out to lead others.

How do you help group members to embrace this?

When people say, “We love our group; we don’t ever want to leave,” challenge them with Jesus’ mission to “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Study that and other passages and discuss its application for group members.(For more help on how to do this, see my newly revised book, Leaving Home: A Small Group Parable for Making Disciples into Disciple Makers. It’s available now as a PDF download.)

If group members say they don’t know enough or have the ability to lead, look together at the lives of the early church leaders, Peter and John, who were known as “unschooled, ordinary men.”

Focus more on developing a few emerging leaders, sharing leadership roles with them, and increasingly less on discipling the entire group yourself. Team-lead the group with a core team of 2-3 others.

2. The best way for individuals to continue growing is to step out of their comfort zones.

Abraham Maslow said,

“You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

“You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.” -Abraham Maslow Click To Tweet

How can you help the group step forward?

A new Christian usually grows rapidly. After awhile, however, that growth slows and eventually becomes incremental at best. Individuals can remain in this plateaued state for years – attending church and small group faithfully every week and still not growing. To help them begin growing spiritually again, think of creative ways to encourage them with challenges that spur on their growth and force them to rely more on God’s power.

Those who teach others claim they learn far more than those they are teaching. The best thing you can do for plateaued group members may be to allow them to team-lead and teach others.

Communicate in terms of spiritual steps. What is the next logical step for each member of the group? Discuss this openly and challenge them personally. Shepherd them towards where they need to go to grow. For some, the next step is team-leading.

Small groups have accurately been descried as “leader breeders.” As you disciple people, sharing ownership and leadership, new leaders will emerge. 

Question: What specific change can you make this week in your group leadership in order to help people get out of their comfort zones so they can grow? Please share by clicking the Comment button below.

Small groups are “leader breeders.” @JoelComiskey Click To Tweet

The best thing you can do for plateaued group members is to allow them to lead. Click To Tweet

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Michael Mack has led Small Group Leadership full-time since 2012, but has been involved in small group ministry for more than 25 years.

He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. Their family small group, which includes their four young adult children, has much potential (and much anticipation) for future growth and multiplication. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of great friends who participate together in various charity rides.

See the “About Michael Mack” page under About Us for more about him.

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2 Comments

  1. PastorMason

    December 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Great quote from Maslow. So much of discipleship is calling people out of their comfort zones. These are all spot-on Mike, thanks!

    Reply

  2. Mike Mack

    December 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks, Mason. Calling people out of their comfort zones is often a progressive, continuous process.

    Reply

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