The fourth characteristic of the leader posture is intentionality. That just means you should have a plan to make sure what happens in group is helping everyone take their best next steps in spiritual growth.
The tricky part of being intentional is that in order to do it really well you have to be both proactive and reactive. On the one hand, you need to take the lead in guiding your group members in the direction they need to go. On the other hand, figuring out where your group members need to go requires figuring out where they are now and reacting accordingly (the Group Member Assessment is a great tool for doing just that).
Intentionality can be more art than science. It can be helpful to ask yourself these questions:
- How spiritually mature are my group members? Are they new to faith? Are they long-time Christians? Are they somewhere in between? Answering these questions will help you know how much to challenge your group members. Newer Christians may need to be introduced to ideas you take for granted. More seasoned Christians may need to be challenged to step outside of their well-worn comfort zones.
- Do my group members lack specific knowledge or skills that prevents them from growing? Do they need help understanding and practicing spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible and prayer? Do they need a new perspective on dating, marriage, or parenting? Answering questions like these can help you understand what kinds of studies and conversation will most benefit your group members.
- Are they serving in a ministry? If the answer is no, it's almost always a great next step.
- How well is your group connecting relationally? If things are stuck on the surface, that can be a major impediment to growth for everyone in the group. You may need to be intentional about modeling vulnerability and transparency so your group members feel safe to do the same.
Most of all, keep this in mind: being intentional isn't about seizing control of the group. It's not about bossing others around or making plans for their lives. Remember: you're leading adults. They're in charge of themselves.
Being intentional just means making sure the group is more than a series of random interactions between its members. No one is happy in a random group because no one grows or feels challenged. It's about making sure that the relationships, conversations, and studies are designed to help every member grow.
You're the only one that can make a plan like that because your group is a unique mix of individuals. No one knows them as well as you do.
If you want to start making a plan for your group, these videos are good place to start: