Monday, November 06, 2006

explanations are important

In a sermon today I heard Rich Nathan say, "explanation proceeds participation".

That's great. I've worked with many small group leaders and pastors to try to help them understand this but most of them miss it. They just don't understand why people in their groups/congregations don't get on board. Every time a leader speaks is a potential teaching point. Good leaders are driven by principles. These principles are woven into every story they tell - everything is an opportunity to sow the vision.

This is such a simple thing to do that it is beyond me why so many miss it. I can only assume it is because the leader is not really "about" what they say they are "about". For example when I train small group leaders, I teach them that there is an opportunity to reinforce why we do small group every time a visitor shows up. They can describe the order of the meeting, they can talk about the purpose of the meeting, they can talk about the future multiplication of the group made possible by the adding of these new people, etc.. Yet I've been to meeting after meeting as a visitor where this didn't happen. I've been to groups for months without hearing why the group exists - it would have gone longer but my nature refuses to let the leader off the hook and I end up asking them.

My challenge to leaders is to ask themselves if they really know why they are doing the things that they are doing. If you cannot find the answer, perhaps you should stop trying to lead until you sort that out. If they do find the answer but are not actively sharing it with others, why is that? Why is it that this passion that supposedly burns within you is not flowing through to others? Why are we not as "contagious" as we would like to be? Again, if you cannot sort that out, I'd recommend you stop leading.

Clearly we do not have enough leaders but also we have too many well meaning people leading that should not be - or more precisely are leading in the wrong place. To this group that has bothered to understand that they need to be doing something I encourage you to also understand that doing the wrong thing is as bad as doing nothing - perhaps worse. Take time to find out who you are and where God wants you, and then, get after it with a vengeance.

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