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How Do We Solve Lacking Small Group Leaders?

How Do We Solve Lacking Small Group Leaders?

A picture shows six hands holdling each other A picture shows six hands holdling each other
ByWa Qi June 17, 2022
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Recently, I read several articles in some Christian media on small group ministry, which reflected the biggest difficulty of this ministry is the shortage of small group leaders. In my opinion, churches should start small group ministry first and solve the problems arising in the process rather than wait until there are enough small group leaders.

Giving priority to this ministry, the pastors of the church where I belong carried out the small group ministry many years ago. Our shepherd groups originated from a prayer group in homes of believers, which later expanded to several groups. But we can’t find enough qualified leaders among spiritually immature believers to be group leaders, for our church is located in a poor rural area with a history of only a dozen years.

The following is the way we build small group ministry under the pandemic.

There are "shepherd groups" and "care groups".

With only several group leaders who can take on pastoral care, the church establishes ten shepherd groups each with about ten members, only covering a third of all the believers. They attend a weekday meeting once a week, engaging in singing hymns, studying the Bible, sharing testimonies, and intercessory prayers.

Apart from this, we also conduct care groups each with 10-15 people which cover every church member according to the area where they are located. For each group, the church appoints a team leader who learns about members’ health conditions, family life, whether they have attended Sunday services, as well as gives them the church’s notices.

My church has not lost members in the past three because of the pandemic. When the church is in lockdown, care group leaders are required to contact each member at least once every two weeks via WeChat or phone and visit the elderly and seriously ill members from time to time.

We have two types of group leaders: "organizers" and "shepherds".

Group leaders who are not competent for shepherding are only responsible for contacting and caring for the members, as well as organizing gatherings. To solve the problem of shortage of shepherds, every staff in the church pastoral team is in charge of shepherding two or three small groups, concentrating on pastoral care instead of doing contacting or organizing work. Meanwhile, they can share the same Bible study material in different groups, saving their time on planning new lessons.

Materials are provided for group leaders undertaking pastoral care.

To better nurture group members, church pastors can provide complete Bible study materials or designated teaching materials to some shepherding leaders. Those who receive theological education or have a thorough knowledge of the Bible can select appropriate scriptures or materials according to the needs of the group members.

Adopt different worship models

If the pastoral staff cannot attend the group meeting due to other church issues, a group leader incapable of pastoral care can change the gathering content, turning Bible study into a special prayer meeting, worship & praise meeting, testimony sharing, or Bible readings.

Gather in both a fixed meeting place and a temporary one

Believers can meet regularly at the home of a believer or take turns to gather at the home of each group member.

However, when a member cannot come to the fixed meeting place due to illness, other members can gather at this person’s home to pray for them.  

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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