This post will make the most sense if you understand that it is part of The Leader 101 Course: Cultivating Habits of Highly Effective Spiritual Leaders
- Lesson One (June 2015). Cultivating the habit of joy
- Lesson Two (July 2015). Cultivating the habit of praying 10:2b
- Lesson Three (August 2015). Cultivating the habit of looking expectantly for 10:2b answer
- Lesson Four (September 2015). Cultivating the habit of carrying people (especially 10:2b answers) in your heart.
- Lesson Five (October 2015). Cultivating the habit of shepherding your flock.
- Lesson Six (November and December 2015). Cultivating the habit of interactive gratitude.
- Lesson Seven (January and February 2016). Cultivating the habit of attention paying
- Lesson Eight (March 2016). Cultivating the habit of gentile curiosity (Coaching)
- Lesson Nine (April). Cultivating the habit of discipling a group (ie, facilitating)
*Watch the video and then continue with the assignments below the video (click on the picture to watch this video).
Transformational insight that I learned from Dick Wulf: Leading (discipling) a group is way more powerful than leading (discipling) the individuals in a group.
Note: When we use the word “coaching” we are referring to what we do with an individual. When we use the word “facilitating” we are referring to what we do with a group. The actually skills (radical attention paying) are quite similar. To facilitate a group is to coach the group. To help the group function more effectively. To empower the group.
What is a group (house church, etc.)?
- A group is a living organism with a life of its own (related to but different from the lives of the individuals in the group).
- The whole is more than the sum of it’s parts.
Examples of living organisms
- Amoeba. Even a one celled organism is made up of many parts. Sometimes you pay attention to the parts and sometimes to the organism as a whole.
- Human body. Sometimes you pay attention to the parts (heart, lungs, ears, skin, etc.) and sometime you pay attention to the whole body.
- Family. Sometimes you pay attention to the individuals in the family and sometimes you pay attention to the family unit as a whole. Family systems therapy.
- The 12 disciples. Sometimes Jesus addressed individuals. But, more frequently He addressed the twelve as a group.
- Church. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ… Now you (plural) are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Cor. 12:12, 27. (Keep in mind that Paul most likely had a house church in mind when he wrote this.) Sometimes we focus on the individuals in a church and sometimes on the living organism called “church”.
Key principle: Most of us know how to pay attention to the individuals in a church gathering. We need to also learn the skill of paying attention to the group as a living organism. It’s not either/or. Rather, it is both/and.
Benefits of leading/discipling/facilitating the group (vs leading the individuals in the group).
- More powerful. A well discipled group is far more powerful than the most gifted leader. The group has many more resources (spiritual gifts, wisdom, time, energy) than the most gifted leader.
- Healthier. When a leader leads individuals in the group, they can become dependent on that person. They look to him/her to solve their problems, meet their needs. This easily leads to exhaustion and burnout. This is one of the biggest reasons that groups fail over time. By contrast, as a group becomes increasingly skilled in working as a group, the leader has less and less to do because the group is doing more and more of the work.
- Multiplication. Traditional group leadership (leading individuals in a group) requires a highly gifted and trained leader. The average person often feels that they don’t have those skills (or time). Once facilitating (leading the group) is understood and learned, many more people can say, “I could do that!”
- Obedience to Scripture. Only a group can obey the plural commands in Scripture. (Also called the “One Anothers”.) An unfortunate reality with the English language is that it often doesn’t reflect the plural of a verb. As a result, we miss that fact than many commands in Scripture can only be obeyed in community. For instance, Mt 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God…” The word “seek” is second person plural and could best be translated “You all seek first the kingdom of God…”
Key Principles: If you disciple the group, the group will disciple the members in the group. The healthier your group becomes, the members of the group will either become healthier or they will leave.
Comment: Many people who have left traditional church (ie, the Dones) have been wounded by church leadership. As a result, they are negative to any form of human leadership. “Jesus alone should be the leader of a church!” But, these people have never experienced this kind of leadership (facilitating). When they do, they rarely continue to have a problem with leadership.
- As always, watch the video and read the post with the Coach. Pay attention (there’s that phrase again!) to the key ideas that He highlights for you. Dialogue with Him in your journal.
- Your history with groups. Describe your experience with small groups (house churches, etc.) as a participant. As a leader.
- Leading. What have you enjoyed about leading groups? What have been the challenges? Have you ever felt close to burn out?
- Approach to leading. Do you have experience leading individuals in the group? What was that like? Do you have experience leading the group as a unit? What was that like? What are your most important questions about group leadership?
- Share what you are learning about facilitating with your CO2 partner, your house church, your Leader Team. Also, if you resonate with these ideas send this post to a friend and post the link on Facebook.
- Interview with Dick Wulf on how to lead a group