The last thing any small group point person wants is an indifferent or even apathetic small group leader. John Maxwell once said, “People may teach what they know, but they reproduce what they are.” A small group leader who is burned out or checked out creates or attracts the same.
Many in the leadership world would say that these leaders have lost their vision. Bill Hybels is known for saying, “vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in people.” A lost vision or lack of vision can lead to all sorts of problems.
A few months back I was facilitating a group at my church’s marital restoration program. I sat across from a couple that was facing an extremely hard situation. They had been separated for years and told me they were giving it “one last shot.” Their communications told me they were in the midst of a cold war – each phrase was barbed and hurtful. Most others in the group were put on edge having these two in the group.
One exercise was to tell the group how you met, and our leaders were pretty worried for what would follow. To our surprise however, the couple proceeded to tell one of the sweetest stories of pursuing each another that I’ve ever heard. It was so captivating that most of us forgot the tension that had existed between the couple just moments ago. In fact, even the couple seemed to forget. As they recounted the original vision for their marriage the whole environment changed.
I came to realize that although the couple had many differences about the way things were currently, they very much agreed about the original vision for their relationship. They recalled what they felt and why they gravitated toward one another. They could recount what they were thinking, feeling, and planning when they decided to get married. The challenges they were facing came about when they forgot and when they drifted away from that vision.
In his book, Visioneering, Andy Stanley tells us that vision gives significance to our tasks and generates passion, motivation, direction, and purpose. Filling bags with sand will leave you looking at your watch. Making sandbags for a dike to save a town from a flood will get you working through the night without a second thought.
What are you doing to rekindle your small group leaders’ passion that led them to the ministry? Which coaches or leaders will you have contact with this week? Consider using some of these questions as a guide to engage vision.
- What did you picture when you first decided to be a small group leader?
- How do you see God showing up in your group?
- Where is God leading you and your group in the next 6 months? 1 year?
- How do you think God is planning to use you in your role as a small group leader this year?