The single most important quality to look for in any leader is character. If a person has character, everything else is teachable. Here are two qualities (among others) we look for in small group leaders:
We look for Humble People. Such people have a heart for God and are trying their best to draw closer to Him. They may feel unsure of themselves and are certain they cannot lead a group without God’s help. If we start with a person who has a heart for God, regardless of where they are in their maturity level, we never lose. We can give them training, but we cannot give them a heart that longs after God.
We look for Loyal People. Loyalty is one of the things we look for and expect from all our ministry leaders, including small group leaders. Such people must be loyal to Pace Community Church, its mission & vision, and the leadership of this church. We cannot, and will not, allow our vision to get hijacked by others who may have a different agenda. Every small group is an extension of PCC and its mission. Groups within PCC are not allowed to use this church as a platform to advance ‘their’ agenda; rather all groups exist to advance PCC’s agenda. Small groups are not autonomous – they replicate the DNA of our church.
Nothing beats humble, loyal leaders who have a heart for God, no matter how skilled they are. Some of the best leaders I have ever seen were those who started out with very little knowledge of the Bible and were fairly new in their walk with God. They realized early on that they had to rely upon God and others for success. They became great leaders because they loved God and were willing to do anything God asked them to do.
Personality Types to Avoid
Here’s the other side of the coin. There are some people who simply are not good candidates to be small group leaders. Not everyone who wishes to lead should be allowed.
The Bible Scholar. Most of the time when these self-professed Bible scholars want to lead a small group it is because they believe they are intellectually and academically superior to others in the group because they know the scriptures so well. They are intent on teaching the Bible to a group of people who need to know the Bible like they do. They talk often about “going deeper.” I have to laugh when I hear this. Who decides what the standard of depth is? Them? The truth is, Jesus is the standard of depth, not some person who lifts himself to an elevated status. These ‘technicians of the Word’ are not near as smart or spiritual as they think they are and they give off creepy vibes too. Myself, as far as ‘going deep’ is concerned, I’m still trying to measure up to the Greatest Commandment; I don’t think you can get any deeper than that.
The Perfect Life Person. The lack of humility it takes to believe that one is perfect is a recipe for failure. This person sees himself as the completed example of what a true disciple looks like. They believe they have the perfect marriage, perfect children, a perfect understanding of God, and embrace perfect doctrine. As a result, they are often judgmental, opinionated, and have little patience for the rest of us mere mortals. If such a person believes they have ‘already arrived’ they are unfit to lead anyone. To allow this person to lead a group would be a recipe for disaster.
Any small group would be better off with a leader who recognizes they still have a long way to go and are humbly willing to share their successes and failures with others in their groups.