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So you agreed to lead a new small group. This may be your first time or you might be somewhat of a veteran, but the doubts that creep in immediately after you say yes can sound quite similar either way.
Am I experienced enough to cover hard topics?
Am I mature enough to lead other women?
Do I know how to properly steer conversations?
What if no one shows up?
Doubt is rarely new or creative. These are the same questions that have been regurgitated for years, in varying forms, as we step out of our comfort zone and into new areas of leadership.
For years now I’ve been preaching a message of courage, encouraging women to boldly live a life of faithfulness in the things God has called them to. However, the truth is, I rarely do it alone. I rarely walk into a new adventure solitarily. There is something about having someone standing beside you, even just one person that is on board, that kick starts your courage.
There is a way to pad your steps, a way to cushion your landing as you jump into new and unknown areas of leadership. You can jump in tandem. Or, even better, link arms with several women and ask them to jump in with you.
This is precisely where I found myself last fall when I decided to lead a small group. As quickly as I said yes, the doubts began their repertoire. I immediately asked a few other women to join me, to bring their strengths where I might be weak as well as their own God-honoring perspective. The balance was beautiful.
When the body of Christ brings their unique stories and struggles to the table, the perspective we gain as we read and learn together is incredible.
As you are thinking about starting your own small group or looking to add balance to the group you already have, here are a few women should consider inviting.
One of the best small groups I was ever apart of included this girl. She isn’t afraid to give voice to the unique questions many of us are thinking but may not be brave enough to ask. Why did Jesus say that? What does that verse even mean? The curious questioner may sometimes take the conversation off track, but often times the best conversations happen when we deviate from the script.
Every group needs her - the one who always sees the pearl. She brings hope to hard places and has a knack for speaking the grace of the gospel.
Women who can speak the truth in love, who see past emotion and serve up honesty and authenticity are a gift. When you find this woman, invite her in. Your whole group needs her.
We often arrange our small groups around women who are in similar stages of life, but in doing this we miss the deep beauty of perspective. This woman might be harder find because often she doesn’t feel like she has it all figured out yet (who does?) but she has a depth and experience your group needs. She is a survivor; invite her in!
When the Curious Questioner takes you off course, this girl can help you bring it back. When the Truth Teller is a little to truthy, this girl can sprinkle grace on it. And when disagreements on interpretation or application occur (which they will at times, that is normal) this woman becomes a master of uniting the group with the foundation that connect you.
There are so many more women we could add to the list - The Noticer, The Doer, The Prayer Warrior, The Organizer, the list goes on. There is a place for each of them.
And here is the key - your small group can be a success with all of these women or none of them. When you boldly lay the work before the Lord and ask Him to use it only and always for His glory, He will lead and guide your group. We must not forget that He has given us a Helper (John 14:26) so we are never working for Him, but with Him.
What a gift.
But having a well-rounded group of women is definitely a solid place to start. So gather the women around you, bravely ask some specific women to come along side and help balance the group and trust God to make up the difference as you boldly seek to know Him more, together.
We often join a small group looking to receive, but what can you bring to the table? Which small group member do you see yourself as?
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Katie Westenberg is a wife, mom and writer who is passionate about encouraging women to fear God and live brave. Her daily brave involves life in the countryside of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their four kids. She also enjoys traveling, reading and any adventures that include friends and family. You can find her at I Choose Brave as well as Facebook and Instagram.