Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Devotional: Three Transformational Actions for Group Leaders

As group leaders, we know we must prepare to teach every week. We dedicate time for study and preparation. Then we come into our group ready to unpack the Biblical text. Yet, if we aren't careful, we might miss out on some very important transformational actions that could make our teaching more effective. As I considered this Devotional: Three Transformational Actions for Group Leaders, I felt we should begin with the Apostle Paul and his letter to the church of Thessalonians to discover these three actions.

Paul emphasized the relational and intentional investment he, Silvanus, and Timothy had made in people's lives. They had poured their lives into the people because they wanted them to not only know the Word but to live the Word:
We encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12, HCSB)
Did you see the three transformational actions? Here are the actions they practiced to help people move from just knowing to actually living their faith.
  • Encourage - As you look at your group, consider how you can encourage them individually to walk worthy of God. Encouragment can never be practiced enough. Some of your group members might be teetering on the brink of giving up on their faith. One encouraging word, letter, email, visit, or text might change everything.
  • Comfort - Sorrow comes in all shapes and sizes. Yet with sorrow comes an opportunity for us to comfort. When someone has experienced a sorrowful situation make sure you, as the leader, are there to offer comfort. Make sure you teach your group to offer comfort as well.
  • Implore - This is an interesting word that means, "to beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something." This isn't a passive action. It means you roll up your sleeves and intentionally involve yourself in the lives of your group members. You earn the right to talk to group members about specific practices they should be doing or should stop doing. You don't wait; you act; you lead; you guide; you implore!
This passage used an additional phrase that is important - "each one of you." These actions can't be performed from the front of a room while sitting in a chair or standing behind a podium while you teach the lesson. It is done individually, one-on-one. 

I know you are busy as we all are, but we must do everything possible to incorporate these actions into our ministry of teaching in 2014. I pray this devotional will be used to remind you to take time this week to ask God to give you wisdom to know how to better incorporate these three transformational actions into your ministry of teaching. All of us at the 4:12 Network pray that you will have a fruitful ministry in 2014.