FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY
"Discipleship actually begins before someone comes to Christ!" Jim Egli
I've always said that the goal of spiritual formation is to lead people closer to Christ. I know that if I can lead someone close enough, they will fall in love with Jesus and want to get as close as possible.
Small Groups are not an event. They are a journey. While you may be together for a predetermined time, and your curriculum is prepared, you cannot honestly say that you know what will happen.
People will come to your small group who don't know Jesus.
Some will come to your group who love Jesus but don't know how to follow Him.
Some will attend with a chip on their shoulder against God.
Others will come dazed and confused.
What do you do?
If they don't know Jesus, then show them the love of Christ. You don't have to get "preachy." I wish you wouldn't. Be patient and be an example BEFORE you say anything. Please don't point out their sin; that's the Holy Spirits' job. Your job is to tell them how your risen Savior, Jesus, has given you life eternal, hope everlasting, and joy forever.
If they don't know how to follow Jesus, then show them the love of Christ. Some people, for many different reasons, are bad followers of Jesus. Love them. Earn the right to speak into their life. Show them how to follow Jesus. Don't worry, be patient, and they will follow.
If they have a chip on their shoulder, show them the love of Christ. If you haven't noticed, people have anger issues. People can be angry with God about many different things. Some are twisted lies that, with some love and care, can be solved. Others are angry with God over something personal and usually painful. Don't rebuke, understand. Love them and let them see what you've been through. Let them see your pain. Then they will let you speak to theirs.
If they are dazed and confused, show them the love of Christ. Some people just don't know what day of the week it is or where they are. I'm not hating anyone. Some time ago, I realized that I didn't know how many people I was ministering to were medicated for one thing or another. You don't know either. You don't know if they are self-medicating, if they are "enhancing" their pain management, or anything else.
Rely on the Holy Spirit to work through your life, and ask Him to work in theirs too. Healing is still for today, and you need to pray for them every day.
If you didn't notice, I kept telling you to love them. Maybe I'll do another post on this specifically soon. But really, why are you a small group leader if it isn't to love people the way Jesus would love them.
You're in this for the long haul. Take your time and take as many people with you on this journey as possible.