Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course 4, Lesson 12
How to Help Your Group Obey "The Togethers"
Copyright 2001 Dick Wulf
Note: Whenever "group" or "team" is used, it can mean "group", "team", or "family".
TOGETHERS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
It is in more complicated relationships with other Christians that spiritual growth blossoms. If Adam and Eve needed each other's help to just not eat of one tree among thousands., spiritual growth obviously requires the help of other Christians, especially since we are all sinful and Adam and Eve were not.
Seek the Kingdom Together
A Christian group should be seeking the relationships and methods of the kingdom of God. Usually this will be the general attitude of the group and its members. However, a few really complicated situations may require a reminder by the group leader that the group needs to make sure it is doing things God's way.
Pursue Holiness and Perfection Together
In the Bible the admonition for holiness and perfection is always given to a group, whether that be the Israelite nation or the church. The exciting thing for Christian groups is that during any meeting or activity, group perfection is possible even when individual members cannot be sinless. If the group does what God asks, which is often The Togethers, the group is without sin. For this to happen, the group leader has to be vigilant about what righteous acts are required during the group session.
Examine One Another's Faith
The group's work toward its purpose will occasionally expose possible weaknesses of faith, especially if the group purpose is doing something difficult for the Lord. It is the group leader's responsibility to make sure the group knows that the Bible commands Christians to examine one another's faith. Addiction to comfort, pleasure, and politeness can impede this powerful way that God works to increase faith. Since one of the most powerful barriers to group success is limitation of faith, the group leader needs to notice when belief in the Lord's portion of the group's success is insufficient. It is a major group leadership task to help the group realize that before it can take its next step it must increase its faith. If not done, the group purpose will be downgraded resulting in less glory for God.
Teach One Another
Every member of the group will have a different "knowledge resume." Occasionally someone's knowledge will need to be taught to the whole group. The group leader can facilitate this, but must remember not to do the teaching himself or herself unless absolutely necessary. If the group leader teaches very often, he or she will create dependency on leadership and cut off the extensive teaching the group members can do. Sometimes the leader should help the group assign to a group member the learning of something the group needs, even if the leader knows.
Counsel One Another
Giving advice to one another in groups is generally automatic. The thing the group leader needs to watch for is if the group does not tap into the advice of its quieter members.
Disciple One Another
Transparency is the secret to discipleship occurring in Christian groups. Group members will see godly behavior on the surface, but often not see why the person acts that way. With some group purposes it is important that once in a while the group explore why and how a member is able to be Christ-like when faced with a particularly difficult situation. The group leader, because of his or her distance from the actual work that allows objective observation, may want to point out spectacular behavior. Thus, group members will disciple one another.
See that Each One Does His or Her Part
This Together is related to the group's task of discovering and utilizing each group member's strengths, already discussed in an earlier course.
Face Discipline and Judgment Together
It is worldly to let everyone take the heat for their own actions. On the other hand, it is a privilege of God's kingdom to face trouble and discipline together. Much of the difficulty of life comes from the curse God laid upon the land as a result of Adam's sin.
There may be times when individuals in the group will face the judgment of God for some specific waywardness. If this disciplining process of a member negatively affects the group's work on its purpose, the group might want to be more active in helping the other over the sinful attitudes and actions which brought about God's discipline. The group leader might see this need and its urgency before it is identified by the group and may need to mention it.
TOGETHERS OF INVOLVEMENT IN THE WORLD
The group you lead may or may not have to interact with the world as a group. However, it is quite wonderful if it does. That is because it is the depth of love between group members which the world cannot copy that is a major witness to the world of Jesus. (John 13:35: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”)
Be Salt Together in a Bland, Tasteless World
If the group does interact with the non-Christian world, the group leader might want to challenge the group to think about how it might make the world a better place through that encounter. The leader might also want to emphasize the love between group members, asking the group what such love that the world cannot duplicate would look like.
Be Wise and Win the Respect of Outsiders
If the group does interact with the secular world, it should do so wisely and in a way that will lead those outside the faith to respect the faith and lifestyle of the group and its members. The group leader should consider how the group will likely be perceived and can suggest that the group might want to improve on a few things before dealing with the world, especially if the encounter might turn confrontational.
TOGETHERS OF EVANGELISM
As Jesus sent disciples out two-by-two, Christians can do a better job in proclaiming the Gospel together.
Uphold the Gospel Messengers in Joint Prayer
A few Christian groups will have a group purpose that leads to praying for missionaries. Although it might fit in with the group purpose, it might be overlooked and the group leader can suggest it.
Proclaim the Gospel and Be Light to the World
A few Christian groups will have a group purpose that involves witnessing to nonbelievers and telling the good news of Jesus Christ. Or the group purpose might have to do with supporting group members out in the world where they might proclaim the gospel. The group leader will need to recognize when the group needs to consider this Together.
TOGETHERS OF BATTLE
Any Christian group is essentially a part of the Army of God and will have to fight various manifestations of evil. The more important the work of a Christian group, the more might be the attack from the evil one. Usually evil will sneak in unobtrusively, barely noticed until a large problem has erupted. The group leader, being the one somewhat removed from the action, can often see problems developing out of the natural sinfulness of group members or coming from difficulties probably arranged by Satan.
Contend for the Faith Together
In any Christian group there will be challenges to truth. The Christian group's power and effectiveness is found in dependence upon God and his truth. Therefore, the group needs to catch distortions of biblical truth, especially as applied to relationships and the working of the group. The group leader may see that the group as a whole needs to stand up for the truth occasionally.
In light of life's requirements or responsibilities in the group, the group needs to make sure that its members are prepared for battle. The group sees dangers and prepares for them. Especially in leadership groups should the group leader be sure that the group has sufficiently dressed everyone with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Warn and Admonish One Another
In a successful group, members watch each other's backs. The group leader will probably have to work hard to help the group help its members to be aware of one another's vulnerabilities. Since secular and church culture is so focused on the individual watching out for himself and pursuing his own spiritual needs, the group and its members may be more self-focused than this Together requires.
Battle Temptation Together
Certain temptations, if indulged, can seriously affect the group's progress toward its purpose. Therefore, the group must watch for the temptations that Satan will throw at group members and decide if they are dangerous to the group. Every temptation needs to be addressed by a Spiritual Obedience Group, but a temptation not directly related to the purpose in other kinds of groups can lead to the group making sure the tempted member seeks help from some Christian group, preferably his or her Christian inner circle of friends and relatives. This process of battling temptations together or seeing that they are battled elsewhere is the group's responsibility, and the group leader is vigilant to pick up any dangerous temptation that the group overlooks.
Stand Up to the Devil at One Another’s Side
We know that Satan attacks Christian individuals. In fact, that is his preference - to assault people when they are alone. But, a vibrant Christian group will most likely be attacking the devil, as it should be. In any case, the group needs to be a formidable enemy invading the strongholds of evil, even if that is merely difficulties of group relationships and tasks. The group leader watches for passivity on the part of some group members and gives the group the work of getting them into the battle.
Test the Spirits Together
Christians must break society's rule about minding your own business and test spirits together. When someone in the group announces a plan or something they are considering, it is the group's responsibility to not sit back and mind its own business if the group can see the danger to the group purpose. The group should search Scripture that applies. If the group believes that the Spirit of God is leading, it is the duty of the group to express that opinion. However, if the group believes that it is the spirit of evil which is urging the person in that direction, it is also the group's responsibility to communicate that. The group leader may have to explain this task and, once in a while, urge the group to test the spirits together.
Together Hate Evil and Defeat It
Probably only Spiritual Obedience Groups and groups with specific purposes to fight something evil in society will have to work on their hatred of evil, something commanded more than once in Scripture. The group leader of such a group should expect to see more and more disgust with evil in the group. But, the leader must help the group make sure that hatred of evil is used for energy to defeat evil and does not overwhelm group members.
Die for One Another
At times a group will need to help one or more of its members to risk life, usually in the sense of reputation or personal comfort and security for the sake of the group's process and purpose. The group leader might recognize this need early on, and give a "heads up" to the group.
Rescue and Restore One Another
Only occasionally will someone actually become knee-deep in evil themselves. But it is the responsibility of the group to rescue and restore them when they do face such calamity. Especially when the member has been essential to accomplishment of the group purpose, that group purpose can become the motivation for the person to accept the group's help. The group leader may have to remind the group that war is scary and fighting not meant to be comfortable.
TOGETHERS OF PERSEVERANCE
We need one another to endure to the end in any journey of faith. Without perseverance the group will not continue its work to achieve its purpose. Therefore, perseverance deserves the group's careful attention.
Pray for One Another
Of course, group members will pray for one another. But, will they pray also in light of the group's important purpose? The group should encourage its members to pray for each one in light of his or her group responsibilities. The group leader may have to mention this at some point near the beginning of the group's life.
Run the Full Race Together
People join groups to accomplish some important purpose, but sometimes not every group member can keep at it. The group needs to keep its collective eye on its members to identify anyone burning out. It is the group's responsibility, as identified by this Together, to help everyone last until the end, until the group purpose is achieved or the group comes to an end. The group leader watches and intervenes if the group does not notice one of its members fading.
Preserve One Another's Hope
Some group purposes are lofty and seek to honor God in big ways. People join the group with plenty of hope that they can achieve this group purpose. But because it is an honorable challenge, success will not come easy or even quickly. Hope can waiver in individual group members. The group needs to preserve all members' hope or the hope of the group will collapse. The group leader will first help the group understand at the very beginning that great perseverance will be required to pursue such a purpose. After that, the group leader will watch for decreasing hope that bypasses the group's notice and notify the group of his or her observation.
Endure Trouble and Hardship Together
God has not promised an easy life, and the group with a difficult purpose should not expect hardships. The group leader can help the group develop an attitude that trouble is not necessarily bad (see Job 2:10), and that it can best be faced together.
Hold to the Truth Together
Most Christians know much more than they practice. The group is a great place for every group member to exercise the Scripture they know. The work of the group will naturally call for truth to be trusted and acted upon. The group leader, however, might notice something critical the group and its members believe but do not put into practice and point this out.
Look Out for One Another's Good
It is the group's responsibility to watch out for the good of each group member as it affects work toward the group purpose. This can apply to many things, but especially important would be if the group is asking for too much from one or two members. Things like if everyone is listened to and affirmed appropriately also fit this responsibility. If it slips the group's attention, the group leader can point out that the group needs to assess whether or not it is looking out for every group member's needs.
Forbid Mistreatment of One Another
In a group there are a number of forms of mistreatment that may emerge and the group will need to deal with any that impede progress toward the group purpose. For example, sarcasm might be hurtful. While Christians are called to not let anyone be mistreated, the group cannot deal with every hurtful thing. But, if that sarcasm makes a group member shut down his or her contributions, then it is getting in the way of the group's work on its purpose and needs to be addressed. Since dealing with such things is uncomfortable, the group might avoid it. Then the group leader needs to step in and help the group see the eventual damage if it does not deal with it presently.
Keep One Another from the Love of Money
Since the love of money is the root of many kinds of evil, it just may become a barrier to the group and its purpose. If a member might leave the group to chase wealth, that would be something the group would want to deal with before it happens. Therefore, an exceptional group will see a group member drifting away from group participation because of preoccupation with making money. If the group leader sees it and eventually determines the group is not going to act in time, he or she should bring it up as a potential danger.
Keep One Another from Revenge
While it is not very likely someone will want revenge on another in the group for some previous insult or injury, if it does happen it is the responsibility of the group to cut it off. The group leader's responsibility is to not let the group avoid dealing with such a problematic situation.
Next, learn about problems associated with Bible study in small groups.
Copyright 2013 Dick Wulf, Colorado, USA