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5 Key Character Traits for Small Group Leaders

This afternoon I sat down and started jotting down a list of necessary characteristics for a good small group leader.  I quickly realized that this could be a very long list, and there was no way I was going to be able to whittle it down to three key words that all started with the same letter. So instead, I thought I'd just share the first five on my list with you today.  Maybe someday I'll share some of the other ones.

Remember, each of these character traits comes in different amounts for different people. Some leaders are great at two, while they're still growing the other three. You don't have to be perfect in every area to be a great leader, you just need to know which areas of your life require the most effort currently. That said, here are five character traits that can help you be a better small group leader:

1. CONSISTENCY. At the very least, this applies to group attendance.  But it also applies to other areas as well. How you interact with people, how you lead group meetings, the tone of voice with which you speak, and even the mood you bring to group gatherings all need to have some level of consistency. Otherwise your group will shortly become a bi-polar and unhealthy group because they are never sure which version of you is going to show up.

2. FLEXIBILITY. While you should try to model committed attendance and consistency, you also need to recognize that life happens. Sometimes people won't show up, and sometimes group meetings won't go according to plan. Sometimes your discussions will go a completely different direction than you had envisioned. This isn't bad, in fact; many times this is the Holy Spirit guiding your group. Learn to be flexible and roll with the punches.

3. DEMANDING. Don't be a drill sergeant. Do set a high standard for your group. Commitment to Christ is not an easy thing, even He said that his call would be offensive to many. Encourage your group members toward consistent growth. Don't allow them to stagnate or plateau.

4. UNDERSTANDING. The people in your group are going to struggle. Sometimes they are going to slip into sin, and sometimes they will not even feel bad about them. You will do the same thing. Seek to understand their flaws the way you want others to understand yours. Give them the grace you hope others would give you. Offer your hand to help them, continuously pray for them, and constantly love them; but don't abandon them.

5. FACILITATING: Spiritual growth is more likely to occur when people discover God's truth for themselves. Try to lead people to the truth without beating them over the head with your own knowledge. Rather than just defining God and His Word for your group, seek to assist them in their own growth and understanding. This will take practice, time, and patience. However, it will be very rewarding as you began to see your friends develop a passion to know God, serve Him, and own their faith for themselves!


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