- Retreat. Get away on a spiritual retreat together as a group. Plan to meet as a group with God there.
Last night during our small group meeting, Chris mentioned that we should bring all the kids up from the basement and, as parents, pray with and over them. After the kids came into the living room, sitting on parent’s laps and on the floor in front of us, Chris glanced over at me. I just nodded at him, and he started leading the prayer time. What an awesome time of prayer and blessing it was! Adults and kids prayed and worshiped God. Several of the dads prayed prayers of blessing upon the children.
Chris is one of our group’s Core Team Members. Years ago, when I used to lead alone, that time of prayer would not have happened. But Chris and others are now empowered to lead, and our group experience is so much richer and better.
This was another example of the power behind what I wrote about in my most recent book.
I have a confession and explanation. I didn’t set out to write The Pocket Guide to Burnout -Free Small Group Leadership about leader burnout. Actually, the publisher thought that was the right angle for the book. Originally, I wrote it from the opposite perspective, to help leaders be effective and successful in leading their groups. Through my own experience leading groups as well as overseeing hundreds and hundreds of groups over the years, I’ve found two key factors behind healthy, successful groups:
- Leading out of a sense of stewardship. God is the real leader of my group. I lead from the second chair.
- Leading with a Core Team. Never lead alone!
Granted, doing these two things does help leaders avoid burnout. But my hope is that burnout does not even need to become an issue! I’m afraid people won’t read this book because they are not currently experiencing any burnout. I wish the title was different so that leaders could implement these practices way before they ever have to think about burnout!
I’m also afraid that if you wait until you feel burnout approaching to read this book, it may be too late. The best way to lead anything is from a proactive position. That’s why we are launching every new group at Northeast centered on Christ as the leader and with a Core Team gathered around his presence, power, and purposes. These groups are doing WAY more than avoiding burnout!
Today I came across a great blog post by DeAntwan Fitts, pastor of Peace Chapel in Los Angeles, titled “Five Stages of a Healthy Small Group.” Great post, and a very necessary part of what I’m discussing here.
DeAntwan begins his post,
Healthy small groups do not just happen. They are the result of the leader being INTENTIONAL about moving the group through the four [sic] important stages of a healthy small group.
He’s dead-on about this. While I’m sharing 7 “signs” of a healthy small group, which I believe leaders can use to diagnose the health of their group(s) and then make prescriptive changes to make their groups more healthy, DeAntwan’s list provides five very useful benchmarks for those signs.
I also really like the fact that DeAntwan encourages leaders to be very intentional in all this. Unhealthy groups generally do not know their win and just meet week to week with little or no direction. Healthy groups are intentional about who they are, where they are going, and how they are going to get there.
Check out DeAntwan’s post here.