You have responded to the call to help shepherd Jesus’ flock. There are few other tasks in the family of God
that surpass the contribution you will be making. As you prepare to lead, whether it is one session or the entire
series, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
God knows everything about you, and He knew that you would be asked to lead your group. Remember that it
is common for all good leaders to feel that they are not ready to lead. Moses, Solomon, Jeremiah and Timothy
were all reluctant to lead. God promises, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Whether you are leading for one evening, for several weeks, or for a lifetime, you will be blessed as you serve.
Pray right now for God to help you build a healthy leadership team. If you can enlist a co-leader to help you
lead the group, you will find your experience to be much richer. This is your chance to involve as many people
as you can in building a healthy group. All you have to do is call and ask people to help. You’ll probably be
surprised at the response!
3. BE YOURSELF!
If you won’t be you, who will? God wants you to use your unique gifts and temperament. Don’t try to do things
exactly like another leader; do them in a way that fits you! Just admit it when you don’t have an answer, and
apologize when you make a mistake. Your group will love you for it, and you’ll sleep better at night!
4. PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME!
Read the materials and watch any videos you will be watching. Write down your responses to each question in
the study guide. Pay special attention to exercises that ask group members to do something other than engage
in discussion. These exercises will help your group live what the Bible teaches, not just talk about it. Be sure you
understand how an exercise works, and bring any necessary supplies (such as paper and pens) to your meeting.
If the exercise employs an outside item, be sure to look over that item so you’ll know how it works. Finally, try
to find the purpose of the session and write it down so you remember purpose of this section of the study.
5. USE THE ESPN MODEL AS YOU LEAD GROUP MEMBERS!
• Encourage: Give support, advice, and uplifting words to bless your small group members.
• Scripture: Scripture is true, powerful, and life giving. Sharing the Word often will help us learn more about
the heart and character of God.
• Prayer: Include your group members in your daily prayers.
• Next Steps: Encourage your group members to take their next step of obedience In becoming more Christ like.
6. WHEN YOU ASK A QUESTION, BE PATIENT!
Someone will eventually respond. Sometimes people need a moment or two of silence to think about the
question. After someone responds, affirm the response with a simple “thanks” or “good job.” Then ask, “How about somebody else?” or “Would
someone who hasn’t shared like to add anything?” Be sensitive to new people or reluctant members who
aren’t ready to say, pray or do anything. If you give them a safe setting, they will blossom over time.
7. PROVIDE TRANSITIONS BETWEEN QUESTIONS!
When guiding the discussion, always read aloud the transitional paragraphs and the questions. Ask the group
if anyone would like to read the paragraph or Bible passage. Don’t call on anyone, but ask for a volunteer, and
then be patient until someone begins. Be sure to thank the person who reads aloud.
8. BREAK UP INTO SUBGROUPS OR THEY WON’T STAY
If your group has more than seven people, we strongly encourage you to have the group gather sometimes
in discussion circles of three or four people during the application sections of the study. With a greater
opportunity to talk in a small circle, people will connect more with the study, apply more quickly what they’re
learning and ultimately get more out of it.People who are unaccustomed to praying aloud will feel more comfortable trying it with just two or three others. When
you gather again at the end of the section, you can have one person summarize the highlights from each circle.
9. ROTATE FACILITATORS WEEKLY!
At the end of each meeting, ask the group who should lead the following week. Let the group help select your
weekly facilitator. You may be perfectly capable of leading each time, but you will help others grow in their
faith and gifts if you give them opportunities to lead. You can use the Small Group Calendar to fill in the
names of all meeting leaders at once if you prefer.
10. ONE FINAL CHALLENGE!
Before your first opportunity to lead, look up each of the five passages listed below. Read each one as a devotional
exercise to help equip yourself with a shepherd’s heart. Trust us on this one. If you do this, you will be more than
ready for your first meeting.
| MATTHEW 9:36 | 1 PETER 5:2-4 | PSALM 23 | EZEKIEL 34: 11-16 | 1 THESSALONIANS 2:7-8, 11-12 |