Whether your church has Sunday school or off-site small groups during the week, you likely have small group leaders who week after week facilitate the group. Frankly, I don't think we spend enough time praying for these leaders.
Here's why we must cover them in prayer:
1. They're teaching the Word. That in itself is serious business. Anyone who studies, interprets, teaches and applies the Word of God needs our prayers. Even if your small group leader only facilitates the study, he or she is still leading discussion of the Word.
2. God will judge them as teachers. God holds the standards high for teachers (James 3:1), even if they're not the primary teacher/preacher who stands in the pulpit every Sunday. The location of the teaching and the size of the crowd don't diminish what God demands.
3. The enemy wants to destroy teaching leaders. Satan is aware that when any leader falls—including a small group leader—others are weakened, too. He aims his arrows at the small group leader's personal walk and at his or her family.
4. They must balance family, work, church and group preparation. Most of us struggle with balance in general. Along with all the other commitments in life, small group leaders add the hours needed weekly to prepare a lesson and minister to group members.
5. They share the burdens of their small group. In the strongest small groups, members really do share life together. That means that the leader often carries the burdens of the group. And, he or she often does that alone, depending on the nature of the concerns.
6. They sometimes wrestle between group preparation and their personal quiet time. In fact, their small group preparation can become a source of conviction if it causes them to miss their own time with God.
7. Their task is to raise up good leaders and then send them out. That's tough to do, actually. Most of us love having faithful attendees and great contributors in our group—but those are often the very people we need to multiply new groups. That means that small group leaders are always seeking to send out and re-grow their group. Leading well, they never reach a place of comfort with their group's status.
8. They're sinners, too. They may be leaders, but they struggle with temptation just like the rest of us. Their families face the same pressures. Work can be just as chaotic for them, and then they must put on a good face each week with their group. For all these reasons and others, they deserve our prayers.
I encourage you to pray right now for your small group leader. Then, direct your other group members to this list so they can join you in prayer.
Chuck Lawless is Dean and Vice-President of Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions. In addition, he is Global Theological Education Consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
For the original article, visit chucklawless.com.
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