There are three types of group leaders … 1. organizational, 2. educational, and 3. transformational. All three of these are necessities in group life, but one is usually elevated above the rest. When the wrong one is the primary goal of a group leader, the group will never accomplish what God longs to accomplish — making mature disciples.
The Organizational Leader’s goal is to make sure the group is efficient.
This person spends much time making lists, creating schedules, and hosting meetings of leadership teams. This person will give the time he has for group leadership primarily doing these three things.
The Educational Leader’s goal is to make sure the group is gaining knowledge.
This person spends much time preparing to lead the Bible study. He utilizes commentaries, study Bibles, and any other books and online tools that aid him in preparing. This group leader type will spend as much time as necessary — up to 15 hours a week in many instances— studying so that he can teach those in his group.
The Transformational Group Leader’s goal is to see group members shaped into the image of God.
This person spends much of his time meeting with group members, modeling Christlikeness for them in various settings, studying the Word of God enough to be able to guide the Bible study conversation to application, and praying for the group members. The transformational group leader realizes that he isn’t the catalyst to transformation — the Holy Spirit is. So he gives the bulk of the time he has for group leadership praying passionately for God to do what only He can do in those he is shepherding.
Transformational leadership should be the primary leadership style of every group leader. When this becomes number one and organizing the group and educating the group are put in their rightful place, the group leader will find his leadership identity, not in being efficient or in being a scholar, but in seeing group members lives transformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ.
Rick Howerton has one passion — to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is pursuing this passion as the small group and discipleship specialist at Lifeway Church Resources.