Most leaders and small group attendees know what is expected of them, when they meet. Predictability is a healthy sign of a good group. People are to busy to want to go to something they are not sure about.
How do you lead well between meetings?
Even the most planned and intentional small group leaders know how to guide a discussion, but what about the other six days? A great way to lead between meetings is to think like a priest.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. _ 1 Peter 2:9
We are royalty, part of a priesthood, holy, and belonging to a God. Let’s take this imagery of priesthood to see how we can be better small group leaders between meetings.
1. A priest is set apart for a specific task. (Exodus 28:1)
It is a weighty moment to accept the task of small group leader. You are joining in the mission of Jesus (Ephesians 4) to help others take next steps. What you do, with your group, is no common thing. You are inviting the commonality of life to brush up with the Divine. Everything you do matters between meeting times – study, prayer time, e-mails, reminding people who is bringing food, and watching your life and doctrine closely.
2. A priest is responsible for a people. (Lev. 4:1)
Leviticus 4:1 states that if the High Priest sins, he brings guilt on the people. As American’s, we find this hard to believe. Scripture repeatedly tells us that sin is always communal. It’s not just your sin. It’s our sin.
Sin is the lack of, loss of, destruction of community. _ Stanley Grenz
One of the joys of leading between meetings is catching up with individual group members – coffee, dinner, emails, phone calls, etc. It’s not that we just lead a talk once a week for 45 – 60 minutes, but it’s that we represent them in how we think through our day, prayer life, our temptations, etc.
3. A Priest is an advocate for a people (Leviticus 4)
If one man’s sin (High Priest) affected a community. You better hope he’s “right with God.” The HP would make the sacrifice on behalf of the people. It was the Lord who decided if He would extend forgiveness.
Because Jesus is our high priest, who is always an acceptable offering before the Father, WE CAN PRAY FOR OUR SMALL GROUP.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. _ 1 John 2:1
When a high priest entered into the holy of holies (for the offering), he was appealing to the wrath of God. He wanted the wrath of God to turn away from the people of God.
Because Jesus is our advocate, The mental picture your group needs is as follows:
The Father considers every prayer. Since Jesus is our advocate, He is our high priest telling the Father to show us mercy rather than wrath. Like the High Priest, Jesus is appealing to the wrath of God. Because Jesus is the acceptable sacrifice, the Father is eager to forgive.
Your small group is going through a lot of things. Pray for them between meetings. Be confident in your prayers, because we know that Jesus is advocating on behalf of your small group.
4. A Priest wants his people to walk in holiness (Leviticus 21:6,8)
The temptation, for a lot of groups, is turn their group time into a current event discussion. If your group never talks about Jesus, it can’t be labeled a small group. It can only help people modify their morality and be better people. Jesus has given us his holiness and declared us righteous. This idea alone could take a life time to flesh out. A great way to help your small group walk in holiness is to keep Jesus in front of them. When it comes time to give your advice or opinion, share with them what Jesus only has – authority.