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Connecting with fellow leaders

“Love creates community. Jesus gave to His disciples a new commandment: ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ The call to or the commendation of love within the fellowship of Christians is repeated in every Epistle. God has through Christ laid the basis for a relationship more intimate than that experienced in many families. It is in the context of the family of God that, rooted and grounded in love, believers are to grow in their experience of God’s love and reach Christian maturity.’ (Larry Richards)

Think About It:

What did you find out about yourself from the DISC dimensions of behavior and spiritual gifts assessment that would be significant information for your co-leader or ministry partners to know?

Every small group leader is part of the greater ministry of either a local body of believers or the universal Body of Christ in general. No one is alone. Jesus not only gathered together his group of apostles, he taught them how to work together to carry on the ministry after his earthly departure. The Holy Spirit is given to every believer to equip each one with gifts needed to grow Christ’s kingdom on earth.

We were never intended to work alone but in connection with others who have a faith walk with Jesus Christ. A connection is “a relationship in which one person is linked or associated with another person.”

“For if they fall, one will help his companion up, but pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm, but how can one person keep warm by himself? Although an assailant may overpower one person, two can withstand him. Moreover, a three-stranded cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10-12)

Ministry leaders need to pursue love for and connection with one another to share the burdens and joys of ministry as well as to support and encourage one another in the use of one’s gifts.

Every small group needs someone who can manage the discussion and the time plus someone who can build relationships and nurture the group. Rarely is one person gifted to do both.

Connecting and Working with Others

Small group leaders and co-leaders should be deliberate in how they work together to meet the ministry needs of their group. This involves getting together and discussing how you will work together, incorporating your spiritual gifts and behavioral style to best advantage for the group.

Spend some time working through the following questions to see how you foresee being able to manage your group. If you have a co-leader, plan a time when you can talk through these things with her. If you do not have a co-leader, look for a mature woman in your group that can help you manage some of the tasks that you will have difficulty doing alone.

“And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24)

While you are going through these questions, pray through them as well. If we become accustomed to depend on our natural strengths, we may feel no need to cry out to God for help. In both your strengths and weaknesses, ask Jesus to do them through you and to do them his way. We can do neither without the help of our God.

Think About It:

Who are your partners in small group ministry?

Getting to know your co-leader:

  • What is your natural bent in leadership: Do you like to lead the discussion? Do you like to write notes, e-mail, & call the women? Do you like to spend time getting to know the women one-on-one?
  • What do you foresee as a struggle for you as a small group leader? How can your co-leader or another leader help you grow in this area?
  • What will be your role in leading the small group discussion? (For example, some co-leaders alternate leading the discussion; others decide that one will always lead.)
  • If a group member shares a prayer request or a prayer need comes up, how will you (and your co-leader, if applicable) make sure to remember to pray for that woman’s need and follow up with her? (Be sure to maintain confidentiality.)

Make a plan for connecting:

  • How will you regularly connect with your co-leader (if you have one) or another leader?
  • How do you plan to regularly connect with and communicate with your small group? If you have a co-leader, how will the two of you handle this (divide list/trade-off weeks/one leader mainly does this)? If you do not have a co-leader, will you need to find someone from your group to help you with this? If so, pray about this and make finding this person a high priority.
  • What kinds of outside activities would you like to do with your group occasionally? Will you need to ask someone else to oversee any scheduling/arrangements? Gather some ideas from others who have had success in this area.
  • What is your plan for warmly greeting the women as they arrive (at the door, at the table, etc.)?

Talk to your co-leader on a regular basis. You will benefit from having the other person’s perspective. Pray together for the women in your group. Periodically review your plans and see how you are doing. What needs to change? Working together as a ministry team (leader/co-leader for each group and leaders in the ministry) benefits all the participants in the ministry. And, our Lord Jesus is glorified by our unity.

“I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one –I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

Managing Conflicts and Expectations

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.” (I Corinthians 1:10)

“Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.” (Philippians 2:3)

Think About It:

Have you experienced or witnessed a conflict between women in ministry? How was it managed/resolved? What, if anything, could have been done better?

Unity or like-mindedness with your ministry team is essential for a servant-leader of a small group. Remember that your goal is to have them focused on their relationship with Jesus Christ and connected with a local church. The larger a ministry grows, the more difficult unity becomes. Conflicts will naturally arise between women who have different behavioral tendencies, backgrounds, and/ or approaches to ministry. We must all work hard to resolve conflicts quickly for the health of the ministry. Conflicts usually fall into 2 categories: 1) conflict with the ministry operation or 2) conflict with a ministry leader or co-leader.

Some conflicts that might possibly arise between co-leaders or between a leader and the ministry itself are: behavioral clashes, how one does/does not nurture the group, childcare issues, and/ or misunderstanding of ministry directives.

We’ve given you some suggestions for resolving conflicts in the “Character” section. We offer you more guidelines below.

Concerning the Ministry

We realize that there may be times when issues come up that need to be addressed. We ask that you please bring these issues to the coordinator or staff member that oversees your ministry. It is our hope that this will give you a new perspective on why we do things the way we do and an avenue for your concern or idea to be discussed and considered for the benefit of the entire group.

Concerning a Co-leader

If you have an issue with another ministry leader, assume good will on her part and ask the Lord how best to proceed in your relationship with her. If you need to discuss the issue in order to get guidance on how to proceed, set aside some time to talk with your ministry leader. Do not gossip about the situation with others. When needed, talk directly with the other leader for the purpose of reconciliation.

If your attempts to reconcile with another leader do not resolve the issue, please set a meeting for the two of you to discuss the issue with the ministry coordinator or the staff member that oversees your ministry. See Matthew 18:15-17 for a good passage on dealing with conflict biblically.

What if I am going to be absent from our small group meeting?

If you have a co-leader, tell her as far in advance as possible when you will be absent. Your ministry coordinator may want to be told as well.

If you will both be absent on the same day, contact your ministry coordinator or staff member that oversees your ministry to make arrangements for your group to be properly served.

Gratefulness

Remember those who serve your ministry—set-up, childcare, hospitality, or any other areas. Thank them often for their service, which makes it possible for your small group to meet. Help your group also practice gratitude toward them.

Related Topics: Christian Education, Women