My opinion is that almost anyone can lead a small group (I do think there are some necessary qualifiers). This week, I've been suggesting some of the important elements of a healthy group. Having food and promoting fellowship are the first two elements of a healthy small group. Just about anyone can ensure that these elements are part of a group's life.
The third element of a healthy group is Expanding Faith. Essentially, this means helping the members of your group be formed to look more like Christ. This is, in my opinion, the primary purpose for your group's existence; therefore, it should be the primary focus for the small group leader.
This is the element which requires the small group leader to know himself (or herself). While some leaders are certainly capable of preparing an effective Bible study or discussion on their own, must group leaders will need help if they are to consistently lead their group in faith expanding gatherings. Fortunately, if one knows where to look, it is very simple to find materials that will work for almost any group.
Small group curriculum comes in many forms. If you take the time to look you'll find book studies, Bible studies, topical studies, video-based studies, studies that require homework, and studies that simply offer up a few questions for discussion. As the group leader, you need to know which type of study will work best with your group; and you need to know what subject of study will best help your group expand their faith. I believe the best way to make those determinations is to discuss these matters as a group. (here is a process to accomplish this)
At Calvary, we have several simple tools our small group leaders can use to help expand the faith of their group:
- The MORE Journal is a daily devotional guide which focuses on the same passage as the church is studying during the weekend preaching times. Every day's study includes a designated reading and several questions for reflection.
- Every week, our Celebration Guide includes a series of discussion questions drawn from the same passage as the sermon. These questions typically include a relationship building section and an application section.
Either of these tools can be used by a group during the FAITH portion of their group meeting. For other resources, you can go to a Christian bookstore or look on-line at places like Christianbook.com. I also have an archive of small group discussions available here.
Here are a few other links to some resources which might help your group's Faith expansion: