If you've been leading a small group or a discipleship group for more than two weeks, you've already discovered that it is rarely a journey in a straight line. It's often circuitous or two steps forward and one step back. We need to constantly be showing encouragement, grace, and love.
The members in your group will probably fit into one of these five stages:
- Spiritually Dead - These people have not yet accepted Christ and are "dead in their transgressions and sins." See Ephesians 2:1-5.
- Infant - They tend to lack knowledge about what Jesus really said about life. They are uninformed (not unintelligent) and are in need of the truth. See Hebrews 5:12-14.
- Child - People in this stage are growing in their relationship with God and other Christians, but are generally self-centered. See 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12.
- Young Adult - They are making a shift from being self-centered to being God-centered and others-centered. See 1 John 2:13-14.
- Parent - These people are seeking to make disciples, because they love God with everything they've got, and they love people as they love themselves. They know there is nothing more loving one can do for people than inspire them to follow Jesus. See 2 Timothy 2:1-2.
As a group leader, you find yourself in the role of "spiritual parent." As with parenting natural-born children, it can be incredibly frustrating as we see our "children" make mistakes, fall down, and fail. On the other hand, the reward is so great when we see them grow in faith, make wise choices, be baptized, or begin to lead on their own.
Thank you for taking the leap to be a "spiritual parent." You are making an eternal difference in the lives of your group members that will reach generation after generation.