Thursday, October 26, 2006

Groups That Serve

I am re-publishing the Thursday Leadership Lesson from today over here because I think it's applicable beyond NCC. We are currently focusing our groups on service, and this post pertains to appointing a service coordinator for your group.

This is Part 8 of our Thursday Leadership Lesson series on Service. Today, we will give some practical steps for appointing a service/outreach coordinator for your group.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us…If it is serving, let him serve. (Romans 12:7)

We’ve been talking for the past couple months about the importance of service, and many of you are probably groaning under the pressure of one more thing you are being asked to do. Don’t do it. Kepp reading while I explain. While we all should live our lives in service to others and your life will serve as the model to your group, you should not necessarily be the primary person driving the service engine in your small group. Instead, appoint a service coordinator for your group.

Leading a small group requires a lot of juggling– lesson planning, house cleaning, win sheet submitting, cookie baking, etc. A mentor once told me, “A good leader can do it all. A great leader doesn’t do much at all.” It’s the power of delegation. Everyone in your group should be contributing in some way, and it’s your job as the leader to make that happen. It’s not just about distributing responsibilities so you don’t have to do as much. It’s about discipleship. When you delegate roles and responsibilities in a way that gives people opportunities to grow their gifts, you are discipling them. As Paul encouraged the church at Rome, “if their gift is serving, let them serve.”

Appointing a service coordinator is practical leadership. And it’s biblical discipleship.

Here are some tips:

Look for Gifts
Appointing a service coordinator begins by looking at the spiritual gifts and passions of the people in your group. People with gifts of mercy, hospitality, service, evangelism, and administration typically make good service coordinators. A mercy-oriented coordinator will approach service differently from an evangelism coordinator, but the end result is a greater focus on service within your group.

Look for Compatibility
Look for someone that you can work with and who understands your vision for your group. Some folks may come in with their own agenda and desire to completely change the direction for your group. Most service-oriented folks are zealous about their work, and they may want to re-route your entire group to the slums of India. Make sure they understand how you would like to see service incorporated into the fabric of your group.

Start as an Experiment
Start small by asking someone to serve as the service coordinator for one semester. Or one project. One of our core values is “everything is an experiment.” Establishing a short timeframe will give you the opportunity to determine if your service coordinator is a good fit, and it will give them an exit point so they don’t feel like they are committing to something in perpetuity.

Give Them Projects
Don’t just give them a title. Give them direction. Start small. Inform them that you want to get your group involved in a project like the Thanksgiving Lunch, Angel Tree, or Load the Bus, and let them know that you would like for them to spearhead it and organize it. Talk specifically about your expectations for service within the group– how many service projects will the group participate in over the course of the semester? What types of projects will be done? Eventually, you will be able to let them dream up their own projects, but give them specific directions in the early stages.

Give Them a Platform
Giving a platform begins with public affirmation and validation from you. Give the service coordinator opportunities to cast vision for service and give details on upcoming opportunities. That may mean giving them time each week during your group announcements time to talk about projects. It may mean giving them posting privileges on your group blog to get the word out. Give them the opportunity to lead the group discussion one night and focus on the topic of service. A title with no platform will bear little results.

Coach Them
Take your service coordinator under wing and invest extra time, pastoral care, and discipling into them. View them as part of your leadership team and include them in the planning process for your group. Give them feedback on how they cast vision, organize projects, and mobilize the group around service. Equip them by giving them books and resources or sending them links to good web articles that pertain to service in small groups.

Empower Them
Empowering goes beyond giving a platform. As your service coordinator grows and their gifts mature, you should “let them loose” to dream, plan, and activate your group to service. Your service coordinator should be someone who challenges you personally and stretches you in uncomfortable ways. Communicate to them the importance of the role they plan within your group, and encourage them to continue to fulfill their role in the body of Christ.

Appointing a service coordinator will help you focus on your gifts while giving someone else an opportunity to grow in their gifts. Every member a minister should be the slogan for our group, and the Body of Christ will grow and learn from one another as a result.

If you’ve got other ideas about appointing a service coordinator, please use the comment thread below.


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