My short-term small group was starting in 5 days. We were going to walk through a 6-week Bible study based on the book Overwhelmed by Perry Noble. It would help each of us address worry, stress and anxiety in our lives.
The idea of starting and leading short-term groups to go through this study came from God. It took almost a year after I was given the idea before it was the right time to hold the group meetings.
I advertised the Bible study in several ways. I talked with many people, both online and in person, about the group and encouraged them to sign up. A significant amount of interest was expressed by many people.
Two weeks before the start of the Bible study, only 3 people were signed up. Now 5 days before the group starts and I am down to 2 members (1 dropped out due to a schedule conflict).
I was frustrated and embarrassed. I knew God wanted me to lead this class at this particular time. I was certain of that. What was I doing wrong?
Don’t misunderstand my heart. I was happy and excited to lead a group of 2 people if that was what God desired. It only takes a change in 1 person to make a tremendous difference. However, I didn’t have a peace about this situation.
I knew the recruiting methods I used were effective because I demonstrated it in the past for several small groups and events. I prayed daily for God to change lives through this Bible study. I even asked God to prepare the hearts of each member who signed up by name.
What else did I need to do?
Then it hit me… I wasn’t letting God lead in this area. I wasn’t asking Him what I should do. I wasn’t telling Him how I was feeling.
I immediately had a long, open and honest conversation with God. And then I listened.
What did God tell me in the silence? He didn’t tell me to do anything. All I heard was that I would have at least 8 people in my small group. That is all.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)
The next evening I received an email from a small group leader. Her small group discussed it that evening and wanted to participate. I now have a full room of 10 people signed up for the small group (and more are planning to attend the next one)!
God filled my small group. Yes, I can only explain what happened by giving God ALL of the credit. I know that’s what he wants and expects from us. It just took a little bit of frustration and embarrassment to get me there this time.
I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us during the Bible study.
Is there an area of leading your small group that you are attempting to do in your own strength instead of God’s? Hopefully by sharing my recent experience, you will give that area over to God now before doing anything else.
Question: How has God demonstrated His power as you lead a small group? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
I will be leading this fall and have been feeling the same angst in terms of participation and if our group will remain together. Am I spiritually strong enough?….Am I theological nourished enough to help others grow in my group?….. but then I realized it’s not about me. It’s about how God will move in each person who participates. It’s their participation in our discussions that help one another grow in a group. Thanks Roger!!
Fred – I am excited you are leading this Fall!
The Bible has many examples of God going to those who didn’t believe they were good enough in some way to do His work. Moses is a well-known example. It is important that you are close and obedient to God and love your group members. The knowledge and techniques are also important, but secondary.
it appears you are going into your leadership role with the right perspective. You are correct that in a small group setting, you will be taking on more of a coaching role (rather than a teaching role) so that each participant learns from each other. I look forward to hearing what God does through your group and your leadership in the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.
It was my first meeting with a group of 5 women in a community called Pokuase in Ghana. I spoke to them on “GODLY PARENTING”. The feedback was so encouraging.