Okay, you want to have a great Sunday School class or home group right? You want a group where people share, study God’s Word, bring their friends, and experience transformation. If this is the kind of group you want, there are some things you must avoid. Here are twelve common mistakes of being a Sunday School or small group leader.
Mistake #1 – Arriving late. I know you must be thinking, “Bob’s kidding me right? I mean, the first mistake is arriving late?” Yes it is. Other than not preparing any Bible study at all, arriving late is a leading cause of apathy for your group. Think about it, other than not showing up at all, nothing says “I don’t care” more than showing up late.
Mistake #2 – Being unprepared. You need a plan when your group meets. Allow time for fellowship, prayer requests, prayer, announcements, and Bible study. Organize your Bible study so that you are leading people into an experience with God’s word. I carry a journal with me when I lead a group that has the order of what I’m going to do in addition to the notes I’ve made for leading the Bible study.
Mistake #3 – Failing to call a hurting class member. When you hear of a group member who is having difficulty, don’t hesitate – call them! The window to minister to them later is kept open by contacting them as soon as possible. The window of ministry is closing the longer you delay. Not only is the window of ministry closing, but the group member is wondering if all that talk about “community” and “belonging” was really just that – a bunch of talk.
Mistake #4 – No Bible in your Bible study. Ultimately, we need to remember that we need to lead our people to interact with God’s Word, not our opinion of the lesson or a pithy statement we read somewhere. Avoid using the Bible as a companion piece! The Bible is the focus of the group. Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is the judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”
Mistake #5 – Failure to delegate. You probably have people in your group who account for millions of dollars at work; who make life and death decisions on our streets; and who teach precious young minds 40 hours/week. I think they can organize and run a potluck and some kind of prayer chain! They just need you to give up control.
Mistake #6 – Missing Leadership Meetings. Most of us reading this article probably think that Sunday School or small groups is the most important organization of the local church. If true, you can’t afford to miss leadership meetings! Okay, so your director may not be the best. None of us have a lock on perfection! I’ve found that when leaders are willing to engage, the better the meeting gets. If your leadership meetings are lacking some pizzazz, ask some thought provoking questions. A simple “Have we ever thought about doing….?” will get people involved and working together. To rephrase John Donne, your group is not an island. Every class or group needs to be involved and informed on the greater purpose of the church.
Tomorrow will feature part 2 of the 12 Mistakes Group Leaders Make