Top 10 Websites for Small Group Leaders – 2016

Here are the 10 best websites for small group leaders and ministry point leaders as judged solely by me, Michael Mack. Part of the mission of Small Group Leadership is to resource leaders—or, in this case, point you to some of the best resources—to help you carry out the mission God has given you. I not only use all these sites to varying degrees, I’m also involved in some of them, which I’ll note, below. Take that statement as my full disclosure.

These sites are divided into two categories: ministry organizations and individuals. The order in each category isn’t that important; what is critical, I believe, is that you discover and utilize great resources that help you lead well.

So here we go: the 2016 Best Websites for Small Group Leaders.

1-5: Ministry Organizations

 

SmallGroups.com

SmallGroups.com

Yes, I founded this ministry way back in 1995, using a dial-up modem out of our basement in Cincinnati. Today it’s owned and operated by Christianity Today, and it’s come a long way! My guess is that this site has more available for leaders than any other, and it’s also very easy to navigate and utilize.

Many of the articles on this site are free, or you can download some of the training tools, Bible studies, or videos a la carte at a starting price of $4.95 each. You can also get an individual or multi-user subscription.

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube

Small Group Network

Small Group Network

Steve Gladen, Global Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church since 1998, founded the Small Group Network to help Small Group Point People discover answers to their questions. This truly is a network of small group point leaders from around the world who provide one another with encouragement and support. One of the key ways this network works is through local huddles of point leaders to share ideas, resources, and to build relationships. The site also provides a blog written by various members of the SGN team, a small groups job board, and a schedule of Small Group Network events.

If you are the point leader of small groups in your church, the Small Group Network should be one of your most-clicked bookmarks. Be sure to register and jump into all the encouragement and support.

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube

Small Group Churches

http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/

The mission of Small Group Churches is to be an influential small group community, linking pastors and leaders to like-minded resources, events and organizations. Andrew Mason, the small groups pastor at Real Life Church in Northern California, founded this online community of leaders. I, along with Steve Gladen and Scott Boren, join Mason on the SGC team. The site includes relevant articles and a blog, but the two best things about this site are the videos (which you’ll notice first at the top of the homepage) and the forum. Mason boasts (in a good way) that Small Group Churches is the “#1 self-hosted online forum for Small Group point people, pastors and leaders.” The site says, “We are not THE resource for everything small groups, but we believe we can help you find the resource(s) you need.” The forum makes this site unique and very useful for leaders looking for answers to small group questions.

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Joel Comiskey Group

http://www.joelcomiskeygroup.com/

Joel Comiskey is recognized around the world as a leading authority on the cell church. His ministry, Joel Comiskey Group is “dedicated to helping complete the great commission in this century by providing resources and coaching to plant new cell churches and transition existing churches to cell-based ministry.” Even if you’re not a cell church, however, this site has lots of great resources, a well-written blog written by various leaders, and a bookstore that includes many of Comiskey’s 28 books primarily focused on life-giving small groups (cell groups).

Facebook  Twitter

SmallGroup.com

http://home.smallgroup.com/

Not to be confused with SmallGroups.com, this site, developed by LifeWay, provides Bible studies that can be customized for your church or group. This is a fee-based site that charges based on the number of groups using the membership. The pricing currently starts (accessed 4/27/16) at $199.95/ year for one group and goes up to $5,999.95/year for 100+ groups. (Monthly memberships are also available.) You can check out the program with a free trial on the site. One of the neat features is that if you can’t find a study that works, you can request a study on the text or topic they haven’t covered and they’ll write it for no additional charge.

Facebook  Twitter

6-10: Individuals/Bloggers

 

Allen White’s Blog

http://allenwhite.org/

Allen White has been involved in small group ministry for more than 25 years in churches and as a coach/consultant working with hundreds of churches (he must have started when he was 10). The site’s tagline says it all: “Taking the Guesswork Out of Groups.”™  The blog posts are excellent and are geared mostly toward small group point leaders. Allen often interviews point leaders and others in his “5.5 Questions” feature. (See the one he did with me here.) The site also includes Allen’s courses, info on his coaching ministry, and his small group webinars.

Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Instagram

Jim Egli

http://jimegli.com/

Jim Egli is the Leadership Pastor at Vineyard Church in Urbana, Illinois. He’s also one of my favorite authors of books on small group leadership. Jim’s blogs challenge me to think beyond the normal small group/discipleship/evangelism boxes, so I try to read everything he writes. Besides the blog, you’ll find lots of great small group, discipleship, and multisite resources. But one of my favorite parts of this site (actually, it’s on a separate site) is his Small Group Icebreakers, categorized into Light, Moderate, or Deep.

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Dr. Bill Donahue

http://drbilldonahue.com/

Bill Donahue is simply someone you want to follow if you’re involved in small group ministry. Leadership is often defined as influence, and if that’s true, Donahue is the epitome of a godly leader. His vision is to “resourcing life-changing leaders for world-changing influence.” I first met him when he was Director of Leader Development and Small Groups at the Willow Creek Association and Church and today he’s a popular conference speaker, prolific author, and leadership consultant. His site includes his blog, his books and other resources, videos, and more. The only knock I have on the site is that as I write this today, the blog has not been updated for six months. Still, the resources and past posts are worth the time to read.

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Scott Boren: The Relational Mission

http://scottboren.blogspot.com/

Scott Boren and I have been ministry partners for years. We’ve edited each others’ books, often seek each other’s advice, and have similar convictions about the church, groups, discipleship, etc. I had the students of my Small Groups & Discipleship class at Cincinnati Christian University read his book, MissioRelate mostly to challenge their thinking and help them catch a new vision. Boren is the author of I-don’t-know-how-many books on groups, all worth the read. He blogs on the topics of and often includes adaptations from the books.

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Mark Howell: MarkHowellLive.com / SmallGroupResources.net

http://www.markhowelllive.com/

Mark Howell is a prolific blogger who has probably forgotten more about small group ministry than most of us have ever known. He’s so prolific, in fact, it takes two websites to contain all the good material! He is the Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, and has more than 25 years of small group ministry experience in several churches and as a consultant and coach with a wide variety of churches. Be sure to check out the Services tab on his site to see the types of helps he offers to churches and leaders.

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What small group sites did I miss? Please comment below, and I’ll consider them for the next list!

Related Posts

Small Group Leadership TIPS of the Week: February 8-12, 2016

Small Group Leadership TIPS of the past week as Tweeted, posted on the Small Group Leadership Facebook page, and posted on LinkedIn.

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Monday, 2/8: Focus your ldrshp on the Greatest Commandments: Love God; love people. Do these and you’ll be OK.

Tuesday, 2/9: Allow God’s love and message to be so much a part of you that it naturally overflows. #modelthelove

Wednesday, 2/10: Be a Proverbs 3:5 leader; trust the Lord with all your heart. Don’t depend on your own understanding.

Thursday, 2/11: God is a God of process. Spiritual maturity takes time, patience, and a healthy environment.

Friday, 2/12: Lead as if God has placed each person in your group just as he wants them to be (1 Co 12:18) b/c he has!

 

All Small Group Leadership TIPS

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When to “Call” on Individuals in a Small Group Meeting

I usually train leaders not to call on individual members during a small group meeting. Your goal is to promote discussion, not quiz members. I also don’t like putting group members on the spot. My goal is to create an atmosphere of genuineness, openness, vulnerability, and acceptance. I’m going for a free-flowing dialogue. I find that calling out specific people to contribute sabotages that objective.

However, I can think of four exceptions:

  1. The Quiet Person.  I don’t automatically call on the quiet person. That’s probably the last thing they want to happen in the meeting, and it increases the likelihood they won’t be back next week. What I do, though, is watch their body language. If I see the quiet person sit forward in their chair, place their hand on their chin, or show other signs they want to say something, I’ll give them permission. Some quiet people grew up with the adage, “Don’t speak unless spoken to.” They need permission to give their input. Other quiet people simply get drowned out by the more forceful people in the group. They might be trying to talk but can’t get a word in edgewise.Here’s what I say to them: “Rob, you seem like you have something to say. What is it?” Or, “Jen, we haven’t heard from you for a while. What do you think?”

    By the way, I try to watch body language with everyone in the group, not just the quieter members. Remember that people are communicating in a lot more ways than just their words.

  2. The Monopolizer. When someone begins to monopolize the conversation, I wait for them to take a breath and say something such as, “Those are all great insights, Joe. Brenda, what do you think about this?” Of course, this is only a first attempt to slow down the talkative member, and there are lots of other ways. We’ll save those for another post.
  3. The Thinker. Sometimes you need to get thinkers out of their heads. I want to try to get everyone’s full selves involved in discussions. So sometimes I’ll ask the thinker questions such as, “Stan, how does that make you feel?” Or, “Liz, what emotions do you think Peter was feeling when Jesus said this?”
  4. The Emoter. Other people live mostly on emotions, and it might help them to think through an issue. So I sometimes ask the emoter  something such as, “Ginger, what do you think are the reasons for Paul’s decision?” Or, “Pat, How would you summarize the meaning of verse 3?”
Remember, these are all exceptions to the rule. Use them rarely but strategically to lead great discussions and help people grow in their faith.

More on Facilitating Discussion

Dilbert on Facilitating Group Discussion
Top 10 Ways to Stifle Discussion in Your Small Group
Learn How to Lead a Small Group Discussion from Jim Lehrer

What Small Groups Should Study and Direction from Above

I just read an interesting article by Eric Geiger at LifeWay. In essence, the article says that most small group leaders are given no direction in what their groups study. Read the article HERE.

Here’s my reply:

In some ways this is both bad news and good news. The bad news is that leaders and their groups definitely do need more support, equipping, and coaching than many churches provide. Some church leaders have the attitude of, “We have small groups that are meeting together, so discipleship must be taking place.” Not good.

But there’s some good news tucked away in there too. To borrow the illustration from the article, some pastors would not want an overarching group of leaders in the denomination headquarters telling them what to preach on Sundays. They might say that they know their people better than someone who has never spent time with them. They’d point to the principle of shepherding. In some ways, the same applies to small group leaders. Good, healthy leaders are primarily shepherds who know the sheep under their care, love them, invest in them, and prayerfully seek to lead them, as they follow the Great Shepherd. If these leaders have been well-equipped, church leaders should be able to trust them to shepherd their group members.

Note the IF. It’s essential. Shepherd leaders must be equipped, prayed for, loved, invested into, and coached. When they are, that’s good news for everyone involved!

One issue involved in this discussion is how we define leadership and oversight. Is the traditional top-down approach or a more decentralized, participative, bottom-up approach better?
I think this is an important topic, and it includes in it decisions about control, trust, the work of the Holy Spirit, vision, oversight, training, coaching, and more.
Please weigh in with your thoughts on this!

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

What Every Small Group Leader Needs from their Small Group Pastor
You’re A Shepherd, But Not The Shepherd
What’s Your Definition of a Small Group Leader?
The Psalm of the No-Good Shepherd

Jesus’ Small Group Was a Dysfunctional Mess

Art Credit: www.deviantART.com

Jesus’ small group was a mess. It was often dysfunctional. Except for its leader, this leadership training group seemed to lack any observable spiritual leadership potential.

Within two pages in my Bible, Jesus had to …

  • rebuke his leader-intern (Mark 8:33). Actually, this verse says he looked at all the disciples as he addressed Peter: “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men”
  • deal with Peter missing the bigger vision during their mountaintop experience (9:5-6)
  • stop an argument between some of his group members and the religious leaders (9:14-16)
  • rescue his group members when they could not do what he had told them to do (9:18, 25-28)
  • correct his disciples who were arguing about which of them were the greatest (9:33-34; also see 10:35-45)

The next time you feel like there are tensions and problems in your group, look again at Jesus’ group!

We often talk about what kinds of characteristics to look for in potential leaders: a heart for God, a servant’s heart, and humility, for instance, but from all discernible measures, the guys Jesus selected did not have these qualities. And the worst culprits seem to be the men selected for Jesus’ core team: Peter, John, and James.

Of course, “the Lord does not look at the things man looks at” (1 Samuel 16:7). Even when we as men try to look at the things of the heart rather than just outward appearances, however, we can miss what God sees … which is why we must pray, and ask the Lord of the harvest to send us potential leaders.

Yes, Jesus’ group was a mess and often dysfunctional, but Jesus’ group was healthy. That might seem like an oxymoron, but I don’t believe it is. Jesus understood the principle of process. He did not see only what they were, he saw what they were becoming. And often this process of becoming looks very messy.

If your group is a mess—if your group includes a bunch of dysfunctional, sinful, pride-laden, argumentative men and women—don’t give up! Ask God to help you see the process of what your group members are becoming. At the proper time–God’s time–you will reap a harvest if you do not give up!

5 Minute Daily Devotions for Leaders … C’mon Man!

I am reposting some of most-read posts from the past as I speak at the Cell-Church Conference in Brazil. Tomorrow, I begin teaching in Águas de Lindoia, which is in the south of Brazil, about a two and a half hour car drive from Sao Pãulo.. Please continue to pray for me and those I’ll be speaking to! 

The following post is one of the most popular posts on my blog in the last month. It’s also a topic very close to my heart. 

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Leadership is about two primary activities: receiving and overflowing. As a small group leader — as any kind of leader — my relationship with God comes first. I first must receive from him, and when I make myself available, God gladly pours into me all the things I do not have on my own, but that those I lead need: grace, love, patience, power, compassion, and so much more. When I am receiving, I can overflow, but I cannot overflow without receiving.

Today as I read Psalm 61, I came to a significant verse:

Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! (Psalm 61:4, New Living Translation).

King David was on the run, but he yearned to be back in Jerusalem, not because that’s where his palatial home was, but because that’s where God’s sanctuary was. To David, God’s presence resided especially in the sanctuary, and David yearned to be there.

Leader, don’t miss the word forever here. David longed to dwell in God’s presence forever. The relationship, the fellowship, he had with God was so sweet he didn’t want it to end!

Here’s a tough question for us today. Do you feel the same way as you spend time with God?

Do you rush through your daily quiet time to get to the “more important” things you have to do or would you rather hang out with God a little longer, enjoying some intimate time with him? Do you schedule a 5 or 15 minute meeting with God and just do the bare minimum because you feel you should, or do you open your heart to God and desire to spend as much time as needed to enter into real fellowship with him?

I’m concerned for us, Christian leaders, that perhaps we’ve set our own agendas for our times with God rather than coming humbly to him seeking out his agenda and purposes for our time together. There are a number of “entry-level” devotionals out there that help beginners spend time with God. Five Minute Bible Devotionals, Five Minutes with Christ, Five Minutes a Day: 365 Daily Devotionals … I found a bunch of these listed on Amazon. And those are fine, I suppose, for new Christians. But if you’re leading others and you’re still doing 5 minutes a day with God, I just want to say, “C’mon man!”

I believe that our time spent in solitude with God is THE secret to fruit-bearing ministry. You must receive before you can overflow!

How is your time with God? Are you rushing through it or, like David, do you not want it to end?

10 Stupid Things That Are Keeping Your Small Group from Growing

Geoff Surratt, director of Exponential, wrote a book titled Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing. Great title, so I, ummm, borrowed it. Here are what I believe are the top 10 stupid things that prevent groups from growing or doing anything truly worthwhile.

  1. Consuming. Groups who focus all their attention on themselves grow … fat. But they don’t grow up. They are consumer groups who, like Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, swell up into something completely useless, to be rolled away by Oompa-Loompas. Healthy groups focus on others, which leads not only to the Golden Ticket, but to real maturity.
  2. Concentrating on study and knowledge.  Yeah, it’s ironic that this is a stupid thing that keeps groups from growing, but it’s actually true. The apostle Paul said, “Knowledge puffs up (there’s Violet again), but love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1). James said not to just listen to God’s Word, but to actually do what it says (James 1:22).
  3. Forgetting that Jesus really is present when you meet. An unhealthy group sets its own agenda or falls into the agenda of strong or very needy group members. Healthy groups remember that Jesus is present and meet for his purposes and with his power.
  4. A meeting mentality. A great group is way more than merely a meeting. Focus on mission and ministry, not just on holding meetings.
  5. A leader who leads from knowledge, abilities, or personality. Groups that grow are led by leaders who are growing in their own relationship with Christ. This is their #1 priority. They lead out of the overflow of what God is pouring into them.
  6. Solo leadership. Groups that grow, really grow, have leaders who share leadership with a core team of a few others. These groups not only grow, they multiply more naturally.
  7. Arms-length relationships. People often get into small groups because they want friends with whom they can do this Christian life. They may not say that or even totally realize it, but that’s what they’re really looking for. When they don’t get it, they’ll go somewhere else. People grow spiritually in an an environment of real-life community [translate, “friends”]. Groups grow when groups are friends, not just acquaintances
  8. No ownership. In stagnant groups, people show up empty handed and leave without contributing anything to the rest of the group. In a healthy group, everyone participates and contributes. Group members use their gifts and involve their passions. Each person has a role in the functioning of the group.
  9. No plans or goals. Dormant groups live by default rather than design. They live in reactive rather than proactive mode. An assessment of the groups at our church showed conclusively that when groups know who they are, what they are about, and where they are going, they grow spiritually and numerically.  If your longest range plans are who is bringing what kind of cookies to next week’s meeting, you’re probably stuck, and that’s stupid.
  10. Taking Yourselves Way Too Seriously. Nobody wants to come–or keep coming–to your humdrum small group. Loosen up. Laugh together. Play some music and have a dance off. Change the regular order of your meeting agenda–or just throw out the agenda. Be creative.
That’s my 10. What stupid things that keep groups from growing would you add? Scroll down to comment!

The Fool’s Gold of Group Discipleship: 6 Small Group Elements Easily Mistaken for the Real Thing

All that glitters is not discipleship.

Christ-Centered, Holy-Spirit Empowered, Authentic, Missional Small Groups that Share Leadership are the environment where discipleship happens best, but I’ve witnessed far too often that many groups focus on the wrong wins. These are all fools gold:

  1. Good Meetings. If folks leave saying, “Great meeting!” they may have missed the point. A great meeting does not mean people have been discipled. In fact, discipleship happens as much outside of official meeting times as within.
  2. Good Bible Studies. I believe this is the biggest fool’s gold in many groups. More study and more knowledge do not equal being discipled (see 1 Cor. 8:1-3 and James 1:22-25). It is part of the process, yes, but just because you have studied God’s Word as a group does not necessarily mean people are growing up spiritually. By the way, if the only time group members are opening their Bibles is in group meeting, that’s not real discipleship!
  3. Group Longevity. I’ve heard group members suggest that because they have been in a group a long time, they have been discipled. Yet it sometimes appears they are some of the more spiritually immature people I’ve been around. Groups, like individuals, can get into a plateaued state and not even realize it. They can drift along in their lukewarm state for years and years, not growing or producing any real fruit that lasts. This is dangerous: it’s to such people that Jesus said, “I never knew you” (Matt 7:21-23; also see Revelation 3:16).
  4. Group Talk. The apostle Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” It’s easy to talk a good Christian life in a small group gathering, but talk does not equal real discipleship, counting the cost, making the commitment, and following Christ with everything you’ve got. Discipleship requires taking off the masks, putting away falsehood, being real, transparent, and authentic with one another. That includes stuff like confession, accountability, acceptance, encouragement, admonishment, truth, and love. True discipleship leads to bearing fruit, fruit that will last. Groups that are really doing discipleship will by nature be missional.
  5. Ministry. This may seem antithetical to my last point, but a group that is doing ministry together does not necessarily equal a discipling group. Ministry flows out of a Christ-centered community that is growing in their relationship with Him.
  6. A Super Leader. I’ve said this often, but it is simply impossible for one person to disciple a whole group. Even Jesus didn’t try it. Instead, a Christ-like leader shares leadership with 2-3 others who share the shepherding and discipleship responsibilities. Unfortunately, too many of us are leading solo and not bearing fruit as we should. If this describes you, I encourage you to get a copy of my book, The Pocket Guide to Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership (Digital edition).  
By the way, one of the ways to identify Fool’s Gold is if you find it sitting right on top of the ground. The Real Gold of Discipleship usually takes a lot of digging, searching, and time. And it always includes a cost.
Are there other Fool’s Gold I missed? What do you think? 

7 Grace-Filled Principles for Building Commitment to Spiritual Practices (Commitment and Small Groups Series #13)

In yesterday’s post, I discussed what you as a leader can do when group members resist making a commitment to grow spiritually. How can you help them grow, and, even first, want to grow, without pushing them, judging them, or being legalistic about it? How can you shepherd them, leading them to the places where they can best drink of the Living Water?

As I was recently editing a study developed by my friend and ministry partner Ross Brodfuehrer, I came across a great list of what he calls “10 Suppositions of Spiritual Practices” (this list is included in his study of Kyle Idleman‘s new book, AHA). For this blog post, I’ve adapted these and included my own examples:

7 GRACE-FILLED PRINCIPLES FOR BUILDING COMMITMENT TO SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

  1. The purpose of daily spiritual practices is to enhance and grow our relationship with God. It’s not about the practices themselves. Be careful to focus on the relationship and what practices best help you enhance your grace-based relationship with the Father.
  2. Everyone is different, so the practices that build life with the Father will be different for everyone. My son Jordan, when he was young, used to like to sit with me while I read him stories. My son Dru, on the other hand couldn’t sit still that long. His way of relating with me usually centered around tossing baseball or football or shooting baskets. What works best for you and the members of your group? How do they relate best with God?
  3. Encourage group members to experiment with practices that work best for them. This is something you could discuss when your group gathers. What have they tried? What worked? What didn’t work so well? What new practices might they try?
  4. Beware of blindly following what others tell you is the way you ought to follow the Father. This happens all the time, during sermons, Bible studies, group meetings, and one-on-one discipleship sessions. Well-meaning leaders sometimes prescribe the one way to practice spiritual disciplines, such as using this reading plan or spending 30 minutes in prayer followed by 30 minutes in Bible study, and so forth. Perhaps that worked well for that person, but that doesn’t mean it will work well for you or others. There are two big downsides to this view of spiritual practices: (1) the person struggles with that particular form and eventually gives up on it, and because that form has become equated with developing a closer walk with God, he also gives up on trying to relate with God at all. (2) The person keeps up with the practice even though it’s difficult and bearing little or no fruit in his life. It becomes a legalistic thing to do which he then passes on to others. He lets you know that if you are not doing this one particular practice, suffering through it, you must not be a real Christian. Sound familiar?
  5. If your spiritual practices aren’t leading you to the Father’s heart, then they may not be spiritual practices, they are merely religious rituals. Ross said it this way: “Every practice is just that, a practice. It is not god. It is not life.”
  6. Try targeting spiritual practices toward a particular weakness or area of growth. When you go to see your doctor for an ailment, he gives you meds for what’s specifically wrong with you; he targets the treatment to the diagnosis. So, if you or a group member is dealing with pride, for instance, what would be a good plan for growing in your faith? Would you prescribe reading the One-Year Bible? No. That may actually exasperate the problem! Instead, perhaps you’d choose to serve or give secretly.
  7. Different practices have different values at different parts of your journey. Jordan, who is now 21, no longer likes to sit on my lap and read a book to connect with me. He’d much rather go out for a meal together and talk  The way I read the Bible today is totally different than when I was a young Christian. At that time I read the Word in greater quantity in one sitting. I was learning what the Bible was all about and putting the pieces together. Now I tend to read much smaller sections at a time, digging into it more and meditating on verses and even words.
A commitment to discipleship is a commitment to know God more intimately, to walk with him, to hear his voice, to trust him and follow wherever he leads you.
Make the commitment in your group to helping one another discover what practices will help you know and love God more. Encourage one another. Build each other up. Spur one another on.
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This post is part of a series on “Commitment and Small Groups.” Read the entire series HERE.

What Do You Do When a Group Member Resists Spiritual Growth? (Commitment and Small Group Series #12)

What do you do as a leader when you want to see your group members grow and yet they seem reluctant, resistant, or even rancorous toward making a commitment to grow spiritually?

I remember a conversation I had with Bob, a small group leader at our church. Bob has a very intimate relationship with Christ that exudes from him. He told me about his frustrations with some of his group members who are not committed in their relationships with Christ. As Bob shared this with me, tears welled up in his eyes. Bob wants so much more for them, and his heart aches that they don’t seem committed to Christ or growing in their relationships with him.

My friend Murphy Belding always says the only person we can disciple is a willing one. Wise words.

As leaders, we must trust God to do what only God can do in a person’s life. That means I will be praying for that person constantly. I will invest into his life. I will encourage. I will offer to disciple him. I will ask if he’d like accountability for what he commits to. But I cannot make him do it. I do not want to make this commitment legalistic.

Jesus does not force his way into our lives to make us grow. He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20. This passage is often used evangelistically—Jesus is knocking on the door of a lost person’s heart, inviting him to accept Jesus as Savior. But this passage is written to the church, to people who already claim Christ as Savior. Jesus is inviting his followers into deeper fellowship, deeper commitment, deeper intimacy with him.). And then he waits for us to respond to his voice and to open the door for him to come in. There is no legalism or judgment here. There is simply an invitation and an expectancy that we will respond to him.

Now, imagine you are in the room with a group member who seems uncommitted to Christ and to growing in him. Your job is not to answer the knock on the door for him. Neither is it to push him to the door. It’s to lovingly encourage the person to respond and to show him the way by the way you respond to Jesus.

Tomorrow I will share more about this grace-filled commitment that we as individuals and groups can make to discipleship.

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Parts of this post are adapted from Chapter 7 of my book, Small Group Vital Signs: Seven Indicators of Health that Make Groups Flourish. Get your own copy here.