Finding Opportunities to Lead

*** This is a bonus post in a Small Group Leader Training series ***

Over the last two weeks I've tossed out a lot of information about Small Group Leadership: Group stages, adaptive leadership and a handful of helpful soft skills.

But how can you find a place to use what you've learned?

I'd encourage you to look first at your local community.  Does your church have Groups?  Keep your ears open and ask around to find out how your church selects and trains Leaders.  Offer to help.

Now, if it were that simple, there would be no need for me to write this.  But there are some special cases that are worth thinking about.

What if your church doesn't have Groups?

Here are two ideas ... start your own Group or volunteer with InterVarsity.

Starting a Group in your church is a great thing to do.  It can broaden and deepen the ministry of the church.  It can be the first step toward the church developing Groups.  You could break the ice! 

But know that your church may not be ready for Groups, or that Groups may not fit the strategy of the church.  That's okay.  Don't get frustrated.  Don't leave.  Just look for other options.

Ministries like InterVarsity are always looking for help (or should be).  What we could do with a dozen Small Group Leaders in South Florida!

What if your church doesn't allow people like you to lead?

"People like you" could cover a lot of territory.  Divorced.  Single.  Young.  Female.  New to the church.  Don't speak in tongues.  New believer.  No kids. 

Our temptation when we encounter a closed door is to bang on the door and scream.  Or to do the Protestant thing and look around for another church, a place where we can lead.  But is that the right decision?

Try asking yourself these questions before you "yell or leave" ...
  • Is this limitation missional?
  • Is this limitation wise?
  • Is this limitation permanent or temporary?
  • Is this limitation biblical?
  • Is this limitation communicated with grace and love?
  • Is this limitation open for discussion?
You might be surprised when you ask these questions.  A time may come when you need to "yell or leave" ... but every closed door should not signal "yell or leave" to us.  Asking these questions will slow you down enough to make a wise decision as to your next step.

What if the leaders in your church want you to wait?

"Wait" is a four-letter word, especially for us 20somethings.  We feel hurt, insulted, confused, bored ... we don't wait well.  Waiting is especially hard when, all around us, people tell us to "Go, go, go."

And I realize that we in InterVarsity at times feed that tension.  We equip and engage Leaders so quickly ... we struggle to teach our students to wait.  As a second semester freshman, you really could be ready to lead a Group on campus, but not in the church. 

While you wait to lead, keep looking for a place to serve.  Leaders in the Christian community are Servants first.  And we don't have to be Leaders ... not now, not ever.  Move chairs.  Help with the kids.  Pass out flyers.  Pitch in wherever you can.

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Finding opportunities to lead can be tough.  But it's worth keeping your eyes open, intentionally searching for places to contribute.  All over the country ... all over the world ... there are people hungry for community, desperate to connect with God in some kind of Group.  They're just waiting for someone to Lead.

What has your experience been like, trying to find opportunities to lead?

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