Back to Basics

There seems to be a big push lately to decentralize the local church. The modern technology landscape opens the world to itself. There are a myriad of resources for leaders and open forums to discuss strategies and methods. Constant input, constant comparison. Leaders now ask themselves how they compare to their peers now, more than ever. We have opened up our local church to online sermon notes, and even forgoing a local teaching pastor altogether. Some churches offer a streamed message from a speaker who nobody in the congregation will ever meet. I think online resources are amazing. I believe the internet expands a leader's ability to study and plan. The internet is a great source for different outlooks on passages and commentaries from anyone willing to comment.

I have been leading a group of young adults for about three or four years and I am fairly old school in my teaching ideology.  I believe the person leading the group should teach the group, whether that be a small Bible study, young adult ministry, youth ministry or even big church.  I'm not a huge fan of using other people's lessons or relying on others for lesson plans.  I'm a little stubborn about this, maybe even a little too stubborn at times.  I just believe that if God calls someone to lead a group of people that person has a responsibility to lead that group.  The leader should be in tune with God and with the people God has placed under the leader's care.  There is a relationship there that breeds trust and genuine friendship.  I think that part of that friendship and trust stems from the leader's focus on the needs of the group and the prompting of God in all aspects of the group, including the lessons.

That being said, I decided to step away from direct teaching and go with a book study.  My purpose was twofold.  One, I wanted to open the group more so the group members could contribute more.  My lessons had become very sermon-like.  I taught; people listened.  It was very much a one way street.  I wanted that to change and offer the opportunity for others to speak more.  My second reason was to test the leadership of others in the group.  I wanted to see if other people would step into the void, take charge of the meetings and become leaders.

One evening the group met at a local Christian bookstore and spent some time looking for our new group study book.  It took a while, and we didn't always agree on what we wanted to study, but we eventually landed on one that everyone seemed to like.  Our next couple of months were covered and it was now up to the group to step up and take ownership.  I would love to say that happened, and all went well, but it didn't.  The group devolved and fell apart at the seams.  Week after week there was less motivation for people to attend group at all, and those who did attend complained about the group as a whole and the book, specifically.  Things did not work according to plan.  The worst part is that not only did people not step up and lead, but they complained about the lack of direction and leadership.

Obviously, I have not been happy with things, and after spending time with God in prayer, I believe I need to take action.  As the leader of the group, it is my responsibility to lead them.  The weekly group meeting is tonight and I am going back to basics.  I will be teaching from the Bible.  I will share Scripture and let God reach His sheep.  God taught me a good lesson on what it means to actually lead.  I want to see God moving in the lives of those around me.  I want to see them grow in their knowledge of Him. I need to lead them to Christ and continue to help them on their journey. That is the burden of leadership, a responsibility to the call of God on a leader's life.

Chris Snyder

I have been working with youth and young adults for about 5 years now. My passion is helping young people connect with Jesus and live a life devoted to Him.  I work for a school district in their IT department for a living.  I have a BA in Leadership and Ministry from Ohio Christian University, and I look forward to getting into full-time ministry.  For now, I'm good where I am, though.  You can follow me on twitter (http://twitter.com/fattychris) or wordpress (http://fattychris.wordpress.com/).


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