This post is a shout-out to all you Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, ministry leaders or pastors. Over the years, my life has been touched and changed by committed believers who decided to take their Christian walk to the next level. From the bottom of my heart, I say to those faithful mentors and hard workers: THANK YOU!
Having been a Sunday School teacher and small group leader, I know that none of these great leaders would ever seek fanfare or special recognition. Most find the work rewarding in itself and realize that there is only one important fan–God.
But let’s not forget our Christian duty (Philippians 2:29) to hold these people up before God. Let’s give them our encouragement and full support. Affirm with them that their work is not in vain. Here are a few practical ways to give your group leader a “hug” or a word of encouragement:
- A simple Thank You works well. Write them a personal note. An email is nice, but a hand written card is better. Be specific–maybe there was something in particular that you really liked from the last study your teacher or pastor led.
- Be a friend. To the best of your ability or circumstance try to be a friend with your group leader. Go outside the usual group meeting or setting, and build a relationship with your leader. Many leaders want this.
- Positive feedback. Somehow let them know that you are benefiting from their work, and you are receiving real value from their labors. Perhaps you could share how you are practicing what is being taught in group.
- Volunteer your time. This is probably the biggest encouragement. A small group leader wants to know that you care about the group and that you believe in the direction the group is going. Remember–most group leaders don’t want to lead alone. And they usually can’t do ALL things well.
- Pray. Pray faithfully, and let your leader know that you are praying for him or her. Ask your fellow group members to pray with you.
- Honor them. Maybe you celebrate each anniversary of the group or recognize him/her on their birthday or other special occasions. Keep it simple.
- Save the whines. Okay, now I may be stepping on some toes. I’m not suggesting that you ignore blatant or obvious things that aren’t working well in your group. But if you are going to voice a problem or concern, please be ready to provide a solution. Group leaders can’t fix every problem, and they aren’t perfect.
These were just a few ideas, and I would love to hear more. Each leader is unique. Some leaders may shun a few of the ideas above. You have to know your leader well. Pay attention and try some things. You’ll soon discover the best ways to honor and encourage them.