I was in a conversation with a pastor recently and we were discussing some very practical things that a small group or Sunday School leader should not do. I mean, not do as in not ever do one of these in their group meeting.
1) Come unprepared
Think of a person you know who accomplishes lots of important stuff every week. How much time did he or she have to get all that stuff done? Answer: 168 hours, the same amount of time you did. It is not an issue of time, it is an issue of priorities. Prepare.
2) Show up late
Okay, I’ll give you a break here. If you have a flat tire on the way to your group meeting, you can be late. Be sure not to clean the dirt and grease off your hands though because you need to show tangible evidence of why you were tardy. Otherwise, be a leader; be there early; and be there on time.
3) Call on someone to read
Do not ever say, “Bill, would you read Matthew 2:12-15?” Seriously? Can you pronounce all those names? Our education system for the past 30 years has de-emphasized reading, especially public reading. The thought of reading a Bible passage publicly will push some people into anxiety. Ask for volunteers instead.
4) Call on someone to pray
Have you ever met a believer who claims to have the “prayer thing down”? I heard Greg Frizzell say one time that he feels like a novice when it comes to prayer, and he is a nationally known prayer leader! Again, ask for a volunteer to lead in prayer.
5) Ask someone a direct question
If a person’s greatest fear is speaking in public, their second greatest fear has to be the fear of being asked a direct question about the Bible in front of a group of alleged Bible scholars. So don’t look straight at Susie and ask, “So Susie, who was the left-handed judge in the Old Testament?” Again, ask the question of the entire group and wait for someone to volunteer an answer.
The people in your group need to feel accepted. Singling people out by directly asking them to pray, read, or answer questions will drive people away from your group. If you show up late and unprepared, by your actions you are communicating that Sunday School or small group is not all that important… and why should the group members waste their time if its not important enough for the leader to prepare and be prompt?
However, if you want to see your group grow, share the comment below with people in your group and with people you are inviting into your group.
“When you come to our group, I will be ready; I will start on time;
and I will not ask you to read the Bible, pray, or answer a question unless you volunteer to do so.”