10 Questions I Have for Small Group Leaders

My wife and I have always been members of churches with a Sunday School program until we joined our current church, Restoration Church in Wake Forest, NC. Now, we attend a small group that meets in a home on Tuesday nights, and we’re learning more about this approach.

In my opinion, the leader of either type of group makes or breaks the group. So, here are some questions all small group leaders need to consider: 

  1. How deeply are you walking with God? Would you welcome your group members to walk beside you every moment for the next week, seeing exactly where your walk with God lands? You should stand before your group with integrity in your Christian walk.
  2. What is your goal for the group in 2017? If you can’t name specific goals for this year, you’re probably leading on the fly. 
  3. How do you make sure that teaching and applying the Bible remains central when the group meets? It’s so easy to get diverted to some other discussion that sounds good, but that never returns to the Scriptures. It’s the leader’s job to keep the discussion focused on the Word.
  4. What’s your plan for multiplying the group? If you have no plan, your group won’t multiply – and if you don’t plan to multiply, your group likely lacks an outward, evangelistic focus. Your group might even be your own little kingdom.
  5. Who is the apprentice you’re training to lead the next group when your group multiplies? If you can’t name him or her (or aren’t at least looking for someone), you’re not being the best leader. He or she might be the most gifted, cooperative, involved member of your group – that’s the kind of person you should want to send out.
  6. What are you doing to train the children of your group? Sunday School-based small groups can often answer this question more readily, but all of us need to answer it. We must train our next generation even while we train adults.
  7. What is your approach to the group’s sharing personal concerns? Learning how, when, and what to share is not an insignificant need. In my opinion, some groups are unwisely too open with too many people in the room.
  8. What percentage of your group’s regular attenders are non-believers or unchurched? If there are none, your group might have turned inwardly.
  9. Does everyone in the group know each other’s Christian story? Hearing what God has done in each group member’s life goes a long way toward creating group unity.
  10. Do you pray for all your group members at least weekly? If not, I encourage you to start. Shepherd your group from your knees. 

What questions would you add to this list? 


  • David Nies-Berger says:

    Thank you for this Dr. L. Can you expand on #7 some?

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      Sure. Particularly, some young groups have a tendency to so want to be life-on-life that they share their sin issues, marital issues, etc., in groups that may not be prepared to handle the details. That becomes especially problematic, in my opinion, if the group is both genders or if unchurched guests are in the room. I just think we need to be wise as we share.

  • Kenny says:

    Thank you Dr. Lawless. For group leaders I would add the questions
    Am I committed to ongoing training and coaching? If this is not in place the church’s mission within groups can be lost. Accountability is not really present without proper coaching in place. A group leader who will not commit to ongoing training and coaching does not need to be leading a group.

    This brings another question. Is my church willing to develop me as a group leader by investing time, training and resources in me?

    Additionally, the group leader needs to know what is the purpose of groups In my church? What are we trying to accomplish through groups? My experience is that in some ways groups fulfill different purposes for different churches.

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