The role of shepherding a small group is not complex, but it does take continuous intentional effort. Of course, that starts with an understanding that these “sheep” have been entrusted to you by the Chief Shepherd. You are a shepherd, but he is the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Real Shepherd of the sheep. Your role is to allow him to shepherd through you.

Here are just a few ways you can do that.

  • Pray regularly for and with the members of your group. 
  • Keep in touch between meetings. Call, e-mail, visit. Invest into these friends!
  • Accept everyone, regardless of personality differences.
  • Deal with conflicts up front. Don’t try to wish them away or pretend they aren’t there. For more help on this subject, see Pat Sikora’s HELP! Guide: Why Didn’t You Warn Me? 
  • Stay positive. Group members sometimes tend to become negative—about other people, the church, you name it. Turn the tide as soon as you can. It seems like a lot of people complain and gossip, but very few people want to be in a negative group. 
  • Focus on people, not the program. As Ralph Neighbor says, “The people in your group are the agenda!”

So, how are you doing in these six roles as a shepherd? Which is easiest for you? Which is going to take more diligence? 
This post is is the fourth in a series about your role as a Shepherd-Leader. Here are the previous posts: 

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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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