Do you remember the ad campaign entitled, “Got Milk?” The ad would appear with a wellknown star sporting a milk moustache. The star, looking very debonair, would talk about the benefits of drinking milk and would always end the advertisement with the question, “Got milk?”

Let me ask you a question in my most dashing accent … “Got G.R.O.U.P.?” This is an acrostic whose letters stand for the following areas of true leadership.

Guided by a leader

Lee Roberson said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Simply put, if you don’t have a leader it ain’t going to happen. In all of my years of ministry experience this is one of the most challenging aspects of ministry. Specifically, moving a person beyond salvation, past basic spiritual growth, forward to serving, and then to strategic serving is no easy task. Leadership is not about what can you do for me, but rather what can I do for you. It begins with a heart that asks the question, “How can I help you grow and become more like Christ?”

When a small group leader understands this process, then he or she is in the business of true spiritual leadership. In order for a group to be successful, the leader of the group needs to view their role as drawing out the new creation that God has in mind for every individual in the group. When you do this, then your group is led by a true leader.

Regular meeting times

I prefer weekly, but every other week will work if you have a good way to connect with people in the off-weeks. Meeting monthly will not work if you are serious about helping the people in your group grow and develop. If you are meeting monthly, a person could miss one meeting and it might be a full two months before you see that person again. If you are trying to shepherd the flock of God with integrity, this is not acceptable. In two months’ time, the enemy, who prowls about like a roaring lion, will easily use his tricks of deception, discouragement, and disillusionment to defeat one of your group members. Meeting weekly is best because you can adequately lead the sheep entrusted to your care and protect them as well. Meeting weekly is the bare minimum to provide the right environment for growth and development.

Open God’s Word

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:12 that the … word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. “Among the many things we do when we meet together as a small group, we must take responsibility to break open the Word of Life. The Bible has the power to change people’s lives from the inside out. Consider Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. ” Studying and applying the Word of God has the power to change us from what we are into what God has in mind for us. Lesson #6: Everything rises and falls on leadership.

United in love

In the New Commandment (John 13:34-35), Jesus exhorts us to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. ” The book of Acts describes the love that the early church had for each other in this way, “They began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.” They did this to meet needs that were coming to the forefront in that early gathering of believers. While I’m not advocating a form of Christian communism, I am suggesting we adopt a radical “others first” brand of Christianity. We must sacrifice to meet the needs of others and show God’s true love. Remember this truism: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Prayer for one another

In addition to studying and applying the Word, praying for and with one another is what separates a Christ-centered small group from a civic club.

The Pocket Guide to Leading a Small Group: 52 Ways to Help You and Your Small Group Grow by Dave Earley, Rod Dempsey


FREE 4 week Study Guide for Dave Earley’s book, click here.