Today at Northeast, Bob Cherry stepped out on stage wearing a red cape, playing the part of “Super Pastor.”  He shared how, early in his ministry, he did everything around the church: preaching, teaching, visiting, writing and printing the bulletin, roofing, and so on. He then taught us about the Old Testament role of the priests, who acted as mediators between God and man, and discussed how many churches still work from this Old Testament model in which the priest (or pastor or minister) is expected to and actually does almost everything.

The problem, of course, is that this model is totally foreign to the model and teaching of the New Testament. In the New Testament church, everyone is a super hero. Everyone has a part to play in Christ’s Body. We are all priests (1 Peter 2:9). Most of us who have been around the church for awhile know this. We’ve read passages like Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:1-16, 1 Cor. 12, and Romans 12. We know it, but do we really live it?

Each member of your small group is a super hero! Each one has been given super powers called spiritual gifts. Each one should have an important role to play in the group. Each one is a priest.

Do you see your small group this way? Is everyone empowered to use their gifts to serve others in the group in their own unique ways? Does each person have a role that matches up with their gifts, passions, and skills?

I visit a lot of small groups and I see a lot of super hero small group leaders who somehow have come to believe they must do everything in order for the group to thrive. I talk to some of them and they tell me things like, “Well, they’re just not ready yet to share leadership in the group.” My question: Why is that? Why have you not developed them and empowered them? Why don’t you believe in them?

Leaders who do everything for the group enable the other group members to sit and do nothing. They send a clear message that says, You can’t … You’re not able. But a leader’s main responsibility is to say, “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. You can do it! Give it a try! This is a safe place to step out of your comfort zone. I’m behind you!” People will grow when they are in this kind of environment. People do not grow when they are always playing it safe inside their comfort zones. People don’t grow with super hero small group leaders!

Discuss this with your group! You can hand out a list of possible roles for your group, discuss what gifts and talents are involved in each one, and let group members take ownership of at least one. You can download the form from HERE.

It’s time to take off the cape and get everyone involved. This will change your group! (It can also change your church and the world.)

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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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