Essential Practices for the Small Group Leader #2: Connect with your Group

“There cain’t nobody teach me who don’t know me and won’t learn me.” – A Student

There’s an old cliche’ that goes like this: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It may sound corny, but it’s true. Your ability to effectively teach in a small group setting is directly related to how well you connect with the group.

When I say “connect,” I’m speaking of building relationships based on concern and trust.  It really takes more than just sitting with a group one hour each week to build relationships. It takes an investment of time and energy beyond the classroom. Be a friend and you’ll make friends.

Of course, some people are easier to relate to than others. When we encounter difficult people in our groups, there’s the danger of becoming ambivalent, even bitter. That’s when we have to intentionally love like Christ loves.

David Hansen, author of The Power of Loving Your Church, writes:

“The bind we face is we cannot do pastoral ministry without love. . . to overcome ambivalence we must make the choice to love like Jesus . . . We abide in Christ by loving one another in the fellowship of believers. Sadly, instead of knowing us by our love, the world knows us by our programs.”

If the people in our groups feel as if they are only participants in a church program, they will eventually drift away when they become hurt or tired or bored. If they feel connected, however, because they know that they are loved – at least by the leader – they are more likely to perservere. The group leader must do the hard work of loving his group through words and deeds – the feelings will follow afterwards. Maybe. But our growing to become Christ-like is not based on our feelings. It is based on our obedience.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:11-12 (NIV)

Explore posts in the same categories: Fellowship

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