Leadership TIPS of the Week: July 3-7, 2017

Didn’t catch all our new Leadership TIPS this past week? Here they are! We tweeted them, posted them on our Facebook page, and posted them on LinkedIn. You can use these tips as you lead your group, class, ministry, church, business, family … whatever you want to lead well. Retweet or repost them to your friends and followers!

Click here to see all our Leadership TIPS!

How Can My Group(s) Do What Jesus’ Group Did? (Is That Even Possible?)

World's Greatest Small Group CoverThe back cover of World’s Greatest Small Group features this audacious claim:

Your small group can do what Jesus’ did: Change the World!

I wouldn’t make such a claim if I didn’t believe it’s possible. But I believe not only that it’s possible, but that it’s exactly what Jesus wants to happen. It’s what he said will happen. It’s what he is still waiting to happen.

Some people may believe it could never happen today—that attaining to being the “World’s Greatest Small Group” is an unattainable dream, or, worse, presumptuous. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Why I wrote World’s Greatest Small Group

I can think of three key reasons why I wrote this book:

God has given me a passion for ordinary people who sense a call to lead.

To be more precise, I’m passionate about these leaders’ hearts, which has overflowed into much of the things I’ve written over the years: books like Leading from the Heart, Small Group Vital Signs, and The Pocket Guide to Burnout-Free Small Group Leadership. Chapter 2 of Small Group Vital Signs was titled, “A Healthy Group Has a Healthy, Overflowing Leader.” In World’s Greatest Small Group, I expand on that chapter, discussing the 7 powerful traits of Jesus as he led his group, the same traits in which leaders today can develop.

I truly believe that ordinary people can courageously lead extraordinary small groups.

This is the mission of my ministry, Small Group Leadership, and I believe my call is to help equip ordinary people to do that. This book came out of that core value. Of course, the value comes from the disciples (followers) Jesus chose to be his apostles (those who were sent; that is, leaders). The religious rulers considered them “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13). A closer translation is that they were unlearned or unlettered idiots (idiōtēs in Greek). In other words, these trained religious elite believed that these ordinary folks who worked in ordinary jobs were unqualified, that they didn’t know enough or hadn’t studied under the right Rabbi.

I’m glad these “ordinary” men boldly, courageously ignored the commands and threats of the self-righteous establishment. God does extraordinary things through ordinary people who have “been with Jesus,” who abide in him and then overflow into the lives of others. Ordinary Christ followers are a kingdom of priests. We are his ambassadors. We are all ministers of reconciliation. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness! I want “ordinary,” called Christ followers to understand their identities and mission.

I believe that Jesus’ words in John 14:12 are literal and true.

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus said to his followers, “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

This is not just some unattainable dream of Jesus. It’s much more than a motivational speech to move his disciples into action. It’s not a visionary, pie-in-the-sky picture of a preferred future for the Church. It is Jesus’ plan. It points to his method for carrying out his plan: us. Who is Jesus talking about when he says, “whoever believes in me”? Us! Ordinary followers of Jesus! They (we) can do, will do, even greater things than Jesus did. That’s remarkable, but Jesus meant this literally and it is true—because while he is now at the right hand of the Father, through his Spirit, he has not left us. He is with us to help us carry out the mission he has given us to the very end of the age!

I believe that Jesus' words in John 14:12 are literal and true. Click To Tweet

Jesus’ group often looked like a dysfunctional mess. I talk about that in Chapter 7. Yet those ordinary, unschooled, imperfect, weak people went out with God’s power and changed the world! In some ways, because they took the message from Jerusalem and Judea to the ends of the known world, they did even greater works than Jesus, but the fact is, Jesus was working through them the whole time. And he can do the same with us today. He can and will do “even greater things” if we allow him to work in and through us. That’s what these 7 powerful traits of a life-changing leader are all about.

Each chapter of World’s Greatest Small Group focuses on one leadership attribute we see in Jesus and that each of us can develop as well. I show how Jesus lived out that leadership trait as he led his group and I then show leaders today how they can grow in that trait themselves. I demonstrate how it lives itself out as ordinary people boldly lead their small groups to do the extraordinary things that God wants them to do.

By the way, I am speaking on these topics as I help equip leaders in churches through leader retreats, seminars, and workshops. Please let me know if you’re interested in discussing the possibility of helping equip your leaders!

Get your copy or copies now! Here are two special offers.

To find out more about the book, and to get a COUPON CODE worth 20% off the retail price, click here!

Small Group Leader TOOLBOX coverPurchase your book before March 15 and get a FREE COPY of my eBook, Small Group Leader TOOLBOX, a $12.95 value.

Here’s how:

  1. Purchase World’s Greatest Small Groups from one of these online retailers: CreateSpace (use coupon code TKBFSKKR to get your 20% discount) or Amazon (print or Kindle versions, no additional discount) by March 15.
  2. Email (or forward) your receipt to mike[AT]smallgroupleadership.com (replace [AT] with @) no later than March 15.

I will then send you login instructions and a special 100% off coupon code for Small Group Leader TOOLBOX.

If you lead the small group ministry in your church . . .

Help get this book into the hands of ordinary small group hosts, facilitators, leaders, teachers, etc.!

If you would like to purchase 20 or more copies for your leaders, please contact me directly, before you make your purchase, and I will do two things for you:

  1. To help you save money, I will provide you with a special 30% off coupon code.
  2. I will give you a FREE one-hour block of coaching or consulting.

CONTACT ME HERE before you make your purchase, and let me know you are planning to purchase 20 or more copies.

Questions or other thoughts on this post or on the book? Scroll down and comment!

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Small Group Leader TIPS of the Week: Dec. 26-30, 2016

Here are the Small Group Leader TIPS for the last week as Tweeted, posted on our Small Group Leadership Facebook page, and posted on LinkedIn.

This week’s TIPS come from my new book, Small Group Leader TOOLBOX.

Question: What TIP for leading a healthy small group would you share with other leaders? Scroll down and comment below! 

Read All Small Group Leadership TIPS here!

 

How to (and NOT to) Love your Trick-or-Treating Neighbors

What does it look like to “love your neighbor” on All Hallows’ Eve?

This is one day of the year that many of your neighbors come to your house. So why not treat them with love rather than just candy?

Maybe the best way to discuss how to love your neighbors today is to list a few ways not to treat them. Don’t be Ned Flanders. People too often see Christians’ actions on days like this as tricks; we act like we love them, but they clearly see our ulterior motives. They perceive that we are not treating them with love at all. It’s all a big trick.

Here are 7 trick-or-treat tips for real Christ followers:

  • Love your neighbors with no strings attached. Don’t hand out Halloween gospel tracks (or political fliers!).
  • Love your neighbors extravagantly. Don’t be cheap, chintzy, or corny (nobody likes those little bags of candy corn!) with your treats.
  • Love your neighbors by being there. Don’t be that Christian couple on the street who turns the lights out but keeps the TV on and ignores trick-or-treaters.
  • Love your neighbors relationally. The thing we have to offer our neighbors is a relationship—with us and with God (see 1 John 1:3). So take time to look at each child and parent, smile, make an encouraging comment about their costume, engage them for a moment because you care for them. Don’t miss the opportunity to love each kid and parent with a warm attitude and kind words.
  • Love your neighbors boldly and wisely. An authentic follower of Jesus is unafraid of professing his name, but is also wise. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” … “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (Col. 4:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:15, emphasis added). Don’t confuse boldness with rudeness or disrespect.
  • Love your neighbors appropriately. I wish I didn’t need to mention this one, but be careful not to take the previous points overboard. You can be the light of the world without being weird, inappropriate, and culturally insensitive. Don’t make the treat exchange or conversation awkward.
  • Most importantly, love your neighbors with God’s love. Pray before trick-or-treaters arrive at your door, that he will work through you in a way only he can to spread light. Allow him to overflow from you. He is able to do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within you (Eph. 3:20).  Don’t take matters into your own hands.

Agree or disagree with me on any of these tips? Want to add your own tips to this discussion? Scroll down and click the box below to comment! 

Get the BLANK Out of Leadership!

How does the way others think about you—or what they’ve said about you—affect your ministry? How does the way you think about yourself, perhaps based on those tapes that keep playing in your head of what others have said to or about you, affect your ministry?

If we are honest, my guess is that most if not all of our ministries have been affected greatly by what others or by what we think of us. I wonder if we even realize how much those voices have hindered our ministries. I know. I’ve heard and still hear those voices in my head. “You can’t …” “You’ll never …” “You aren’t …” “You don’t have enough …” “You’re not … enough.”

Jesus and the apostle Paul were particularly aware of and empathetic toward this issue, and both wanted to be sure followers of Christ didn’t fall for this trick of Satan. This morning I was reading 1 Timothy 4, and came across a significant encouragement from the apostle to his prodigy, Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (v. 12).

What were people telling Timothy? “You’re too young. You can’t …” Paul was telling Timothy not to listen to them or pay too much heed to what they thought about him. (The New Living Translation translates it as, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.”)

Timothy was young. That was probably just one of the supposed “obstacles” he had to fruitful ministry. What is it for you? How would you fill in the blank?

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are _____.

What’s in the blank for you? What have others told you or what are you telling yourself?

It’s a trick! It’s a deception from the Deceiver himself. It’s a downright lie.

Don’t let anyone think less of you or look down on you for any reason.

“For our hope in in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers” (v. 10).

“[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Cor. 12:9). 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

“What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

Everything. You can do whatever ministry God has given you to do—in your home, in your small group, at your church, in your neighborhood or workplace—not by your strength, but through Christ, who gives you strength.

Take what you put in your blank and give it to God. Surrender it. With God there is no such thing as “can’t.”

Then fill in a new blank:

For I can do _____ through Christ, who gives me strength.

QUESTION: I’d love to hear what you wrote in that last blank. What can you do through the power of Christ? Please respond by clicking the comments button, below.

Small Group Leadership TIPS of the Week for May 30 – June 3, 2016

Here are this past week’s Small Group Leader TIPS as Tweeted, posted on our Small Group Leadership Facebook page, and posted on LinkedIn.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Monday, 5/30: You CAN go deep AND be open to new ppl. Everything doesn’t have to happen during the meeting!

Tuesday, 5/31: Encourage daily Bible reading. If only time ppl open Bibles is at SG mtg, that’s not discipleship.

Wednesday, 6/1: Lead your family and group as if it’s your ministry calling, not a supplementary task. #mission #lead

Thursday, 6/2: Avoid leader frustration and burnout – Let God lead thru you. His power is unlimited. #stewardship

Friday, 6/3: After you ask a question, wait…not only on ppl to answer, but on the Holy Spirit to work. Isa. 40:31

Go ahead: Copy and paste these to tweet or post them to your followers!

Read All Small Group Leadership TIPS here!

 

Small Group Leadership TIPS of the Weeks for April 25 – May 6, 2016

Here are the last two weeks of Small Group Leader TIPS as Tweeted, posted on the Small Group Leadership Facebook page, and posted on LinkedIn.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Monday, 4/25: Be sure you are not in God’s way of working in your group’s or individual’s lives. Let God work. #ministry

Tuesday, 4/26: In your meeting agenda, leave LOTS of room for the Holy Spirit to work. #leadership #holyspirit

Wednesday, 4/27: Keep the main things the main things: 
1 Your relationship w #God 
2 #Love Others 
3 Your #mission 
#lead

Thursday, 4/28: Love group members more than you love your group expectations. #smallgroups #leadership #shepherd #love

Friday, 4/29: Learn to listen even when group is silent. Listen w/ your eyes. #kinesics #bodylanguage #facilitate

 – – – – – – – THIS WEEK – – – – – – –

Monday, 5/2: Move beyond the stories of what Jesus DID; discuss-better yet, experience-what he is DOING. #grow #power

Tuesday, 5/3: Healthy things grow, bear fruit, and reproduce. Use these to analyze if your group is healthy. #health

Wednesday, 5/4: Great, life-changing groups don’t play it safe. Move from comfy and cautious to courageous and costly!

Thursday, 5/5: The best community begins with a leader who spends time in solitude with God. #overflow #leadership

Friday, 5/6: Pray as though Christ is in the room with you…because he is! #prayer #presence #power #purposeful

Read All Small Group Leadership TIPS!

 Follow @michaelcmack

Small Group Leadership TIPS of the Week: March 28 – April 1, 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, 3/28: A shepherd-leader protects the flock. As terror against Christians increases, start w #prayer
RT or ♥
LIKE on Facebook

Tuesday, 3/29: Hand write a personal encouragement note to someone in your group today and send thru postal mail.
RT or ♥
LIKE on Facebook

Wednesday, 3/30: When u focus on faithfulness u will bear fruit. If u focus on fruit w/o faith, u can do nothing. #John15
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Thursday, 3/31: God is not a secret to be kept inside your small group. Let your light shine for outsiders to see! #Matt516
RT or ♥ 
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Friday, 4/1: As you lead, be aware of the deceiver who conspires to #fool ppl into rejecting the Truth. #AprilFools
RT or ♥
LIKE on Facebook  

 

Read All Small Group Leadership TIPS!

 

Follow @michaelcmack

The Day of Overflowing Compassion

Today is a Day of Overflowing Compassion. To fully understand what happened on this day, it helps to see Jesus’ attitudes, actions, and words before he was put on trial and went to the cross. Once, as he was walking through some towns with his followers, the Bible says that when he saw the crowds, Jesus had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:35-38).

As I reflect on what Jesus did on what we call Good Friday, I feel his compassion for me and for all those who are harassed and helpless in this life. At one time, I too was harassed by this life and felt helpless to do anything about it. I was trying to make it on my own, by my own efforts, under my own puny power. In 1988, with the help of my niece, Julie, and several other people like Thomas, I found the Good Shepherd, or rather, he found me. He drew me to himself.

At first, I was a skeptical seeker. For years I had investigated matters of faith in general and the accounts of Jesus and the Cross particularly. After lots of reading, discussing, and thinking, I could no longer deny, refute, or argue the facts of what happened that Day or especially how it transformed the lives of so many harassed and helpless people, including Jesus’ closest followers, afterward. Something unique and powerful happened that Day on Calvary and on the following Sunday morning.

In John 10, Jesus compared himself to a shepherd, a role rich in Biblical meaning. “I am the good shepherd,” he said, but what he said next is powerful: “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (v. 11). That, my friend, is compassion, sacrificial love, God’s plan for connecting us back into a restored relationship with him. It wasn’t fair: the innocent paying the ultimate price for the guilty. Not fair, but incredibly compassionate.

In his compassionate love for people (see John 3:16), the Shepherd laid down his life for harassed and helpless people like you and me. It was the only way to make things right. He is the only way to a restored relationship with God.

Helpless is what I once was, but not today; today I have a Helper, a Savior, a Compassionate Shepherd who guides me through the circumstances of this life.

This is what it means to follow Jesus. On this Good Friday, I look back at what he has already done for me when he laid down his life for me and on Easter Sunday took it back up again (see John 10:17-18). But I also look forward to a Day that is coming, described toward the end of the Bible: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’” (Revelation 7:17). What compassion!

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