Archives For Leadership

encouraging leadership in small groups, churches, Bible studies, and Sunday school classes

What’s Your Leadership Made Of—Steel or Straw?

“Do you limp?”

The inquiry caught me off guard. Popular author Gary Smalley and his team were peppering me with questions, determining if I was the best candidate to collaborate on his next project.

“Do you limp?” his mentoree, Ted Cunningham, pressed again, determined to discover if I’d experienced adversity or hardship.

“You have no idea,” I answered.

That conversation, which took place more than six years ago, still echoes in my mind. Gary Smalley, Ted Cunningham, and I have worked on more than a half-dozen projects together, but I’ve never forgotten the issue they raised that day.

Do you limp? remains a timeless question among those in leadership. It’s the gentle way of asking:

Can we survive in a foxhole together?

Are you going to buckle under pressure?  

Have you been tested?

Are you made of steel or straw? Continue Reading...

Hey Small Group Leader, It's Time For You To Fight Back With Joy

What begins as a gift soon becomes a grind.

Endless demands. Pressing deadlines. Unexpected interruptions.

The pressure to perform and produce can leave us feeling weary in the marrow of our being. The joy designed to grow into sweet plumpness soon shrivels. Smiles become forced. Sparkling eyes grow dim.

Those closest to us see the shift long before we recognize it in ourselves. Perhaps this is one reason Paul asks,

Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then?” (Galatians 4:15, NLT)

All leaders—no matter the role or responsibility—are susceptible to losing their sense of happy certainty in God. This becomes all the more acute when your workplace or those you loved or you are are faced with sudden loss, pain, suffering, or death.

In Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, I share what began as a journey of joy and soon became a terrifying expedition when I was diagnosed with cancer. Tortured alive through brutal experiments, joy felt so out of reach. But somewhere along the way, I discovered that more than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.

Whatever battlefield you find yourself on in life—as a person whose joy-o-meter has bumped down a notch or burned out completely or if you’re in the fight of your life—here are four ways you can begin to fight back with joy as a leader and encourage others to do the same. Continue Reading...

Hey There Strong Woman, It’s Okay to Be Weak Some Days

Hey there Strong Woman,

I can’t help but admire your strength.

When other people say “impossible,” you hear a personal challenge.

When others dare use the word, “can’t,” you manage to find a way

When others are ready to give up, you’ve just begun.

You turn a mountain into a molehill and the overwhelming into manageable.

It’s one of the many things I adore about you.

Now let’s be clear. I know you’re not perfect. You’re the first to admit that. But even after all your self-deprecation, many of us still suspect you have super human strength running through your veins.

Yet even for you, the strong woman, the leader, life is hard sometimes. This world is mixed up and messed up. Continue Reading...

3 Things To Do When People Leave Your Small Group Small Groups. We’ve all been in one where the numbers continue to whittle down until it’s just you and the leader left.

But when you’re the one leading, what do you do if people start leaving yours?

Here are three things to do when people leave your small group: Continue Reading...

4 Small Group Sins that Can Sabotage Your Leadership

It’s that time of year again.

The leaves are beginning to change. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte has arrived. School bells are ringing. And small groups are in full swing.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been asking YOU to answer some of the dirty-dog-difficult questions of small group leaders on Facebook. With such an incredible online community, we’re inviting you to weigh in on some of the toughest Bible study problems.

Don’t agree with the advice offered? Add your own insights in the comments, below.

I have a member who says she wants to be part of the small group, but lacks commitment and consistency. How should I best respond? Continue Reading...