Creating Community Book Study, Week 5

I always have to chuckle when a “reality” television show comes across our TV at home. Last week, my daughters were watching “The Bachelorette” and I was wondering how anyone could really believe that this type of show depicts “reality.” The average person looking to date someone doesn’t have a line-up of choices, professionals who plan and pay for elaborate dates, and most people certainly don’t narrow it down to two choices for a mate in a contest that plays out right up until the diamond is on the left finger.

So, in a world where we’ve glamorized reality, we need to be careful we keep our heads on straight when living in the real world of ministry. While we may set our expectations high, we need to make sure that our processes work with the average person in mind. In our last section of reading for Creating Community, we’ll take a look at how our processes need to match reality so we don’t set our people or ourselves up for huge disappointment and failure.

Real Leaders
Make sure you’re reasonable in your expectations for leadership in ministry. While your qualifications are meant to keep some out of leadership, you want to make sure you’re not so rigid in your expectations that no one will qualify for the job. Consider leaders that are connected, have high character and integrity, and embrace your ministry’s culture. Leaders should be able to both facilitate in a group setting as well as monitor the climate and know when it’s time to be flexible, tweak, or make changes for the benefit of the group or ministry.

Train Less for More
The key to this point is: Narrow the scope of what you train your leaders on so they can say more about what matters most. Ministry leaders should concentrate on priorities such as life-change among people, cultivating relationships, promoting participation, caring for those they’re ministering to, and building into people so they can someday step into leadership roles themselves.

Successful Groups
Finally, the authors suggest five factors for small group (or any) ministry success:

  • Simple – Don’t try to do everything, keep your strategy simple.
  • Visible – The best advertisement is to keep groups at the forefront and visible in your church.
  • Valued – Celebrate success.
  • Resourced – Allocate the resources a ministry needs to get off the ground and be successful.
  • Modeled – Leadership should model participation in ministry by being involved themselves.

Think On This
What are your expectations for leaders in your ministries? How can you simplify expectations for ministries and leadership in your ministry? What are the priorities you want leaders to reach for in your ministry? How are you modeling participation for others in your ministry?