Five Focuses of a Transformational Group Leader Part 4: Unleash

Five Focuses of a Transformational Group Leader Part 4: Unleash

This post is part of our Five Focuses of a Transformational Group Leader series

Years ago, while living in Japan, a fellow Marine and I were invited to eat sushi at a local friend’s house. I was excited because this was a Japanese family inviting us to join them for a traditional meal in their home. The only problem, and it was a big one, is that I do not like sushi. At all. I want my food fried and very, very dead. I also dislike seafood. For some reason, these crucial caveats did not deter me from trying to enjoy this time. As we sat at the table, I realized what a struggle this was going to be. Laid out before us was a cornucopia of sushi delights, each one making me a bit queasy as I envisioned take a bite. As I surveyed the spread, my confidence rose at the sight of a 2-liter of Dr. Pepper. While I hated sushi, I loved Dr. Pepper. I devised a plan: eat a bite of sushi and then quickly drink enough Dr. Pepper to cover the taste.

As this was before cell phones and helpful apps, our host had a small translation device that allowed him to explain what each item was when we selected something to eat. I picked up a piece that didn’t look too exotic, and our host said, “Sea bream.” While the clarification shed little light on what I was eating, I followed my plan and reached for Dr. Pepper to cover up the taste, that’s when I noticed the size of the glasses we were using. They were tiny, perhaps enough for one good drink at best. I drained the small glass, and when I placed it on the table, one of our host’s daughters immediately filled the glass. I thanked her and told her I could handle that. But after eating my second selection and chugging the glass once again, she immediately filled it. I realized that she was going to do this no matter what so I resolved to man up and eat a few bites before taking another drink. I picked up more sushi, and as I placed it in my mouth, I heard our host say, “Eel eggs.” I’ll just say our host’s daughter had to refill my glass at least three times in quick succession.

While somewhat comical, this experience is not unlike the way we manage those in our groups. While my gracious Japanese hosts provided the right substance, Dr. Pepper, the delivery mechanism as inadequate. As we lead our groups, we offer the life-changing truth of God’s Word – the right substance, but we often limit our effectiveness by creating a bottle-neck of doing it all ourselves. Transformational group leaders become masters at delegation, unleashing those in our groups to serve and lead as God leads.

Leading a group is hard. Done right, leading is so much more than teaching a lesson every week. The best leaders understand that they cannot do this alone. One of the most challenging and yet most significant responsibilities of a group leader is to help those in the group grow and lead. We should always be on the lookout for ways we can help our people utilize their giftedness.

Leading a group is hard. Done right, leading is so much more than teaching a lesson every week. The best leaders understand that they cannot do this alone. Click To Tweet

What is so tricky about delegation is that leaders often try to do it all themselves. Not because they are selfish or because they don’t trust other. Leaders try to do it all themselves because it’s often more comfortable. We usually do not delegate because it requires work on our part. It seems contradictory, but proper delegating is actually harder work than doing it all yourself. Why? Because we know what we want to be done and what it takes and the easy road is to just knock it out ourselves.

Delegation requires training, trusting, and letting go. Each of these elements is a challenge for a sharp leader who knows how to get stuff done. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should not do what is best, transformational group leaders equip and unleash those they lead.

One way to press into unleashing your group’s potential leaders is to ask the question, “In what areas am I weak?” These areas are the perfect place to unleash someone else to thrive and help. Struggle with snacks and food each week? Unleash someone else to lead that aspect of your group. Is teaching becoming a struggle? Equip someone else to lead from time to time. While it can be a challenge to let go, we must equip and unleash those we lead.

Perhaps it has nothing to do with your areas of weakness. Maybe it has more to do with those in your group that need to step. Who in your group needs to be challenged to take that next step into more leadership and responsibility? One of your goals as a transformational group leader is to be delegating so that others can participate and eventually multiply the group. Don’t let selfishness keep you from unleashing the potential in your group as you raise up leaders.

Rather than thinking through delegation for a few weeks, consider some areas where people can begin to serve this week. Take action now to start unleashing your people to grow and serve.

Delegation forces us to assist others to be involved, to step up, and be challenged. Asking someone else in the group to lead the study means we have to trust them, equip them, and help them as they prepare. We have to be willing to let them do poorly if it means they grow, but we need to ensure we have done all we can do to help them succeed.

One of the best ways to multiply your group is to raise up the people in your group to lead. As people serve and grow and step up, they will see that they can do this too and eventually they can be sent out to plant a new group of their own.

If you want to be a transformational group leader, you must learn to unleash those in your group to grow and become leaders. Rather than being the tiny glass that hinders the multiplication biblical community, remove all obstacles and unleash those entrusted to your leadership to rise up and pursue God’s call as they serve Him.

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Chris Swain currently serves at Long Hollow Baptist Church as the Executive Director of Replicate Ministries. After fours years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Chris served in full-time ministry for 14 years in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and Georgia, leading ministries ranging from Students, to Collegiate, to Spiritual Formation. Most recently, Chris served as the Director of Student Ministry Publishing at Lifeway Christian Resources serving the Church in its mission of making disciples. Chris’s heart is to expand the Gospel through disciple-making in the local church.