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April 4, 2013

Something More Important than Preparation

Why who you are matters more than what you do


I read an article recently about the importance of preparing for small-group meetings. While I whole-heartedly believe that preparation leads to positive meetings and the environment for life change, I wonder if preparation truly is the most important thing.

Regardless of our planning and how thoroughly we’ve read our Scripture passage, what our small-group members really want—and need—is a group of people who are authentic, who live their lives together through the mundane, the scary, the frustrating, and the joyful moments. They’re looking for others who don’t always have the right answer, but are willing to empathize with them and pray. They’re looking for people who recognize that life with Christ isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always have clear black-and-white answers.

So although it is important to prepare for meetings by studying the passage, preparing good questions, and making sure someone is bringing a snack, our preparation isn’t the most important thing. Instead, we need to be people authentically following Christ, people who are outside our safe bubbles long enough to run into hard situations that make us to depend on God even more. People who make mistakes and then claim and apologize for those mistakes. People who are visibly growing more into the likeness of Christ—and are willing to admit it’s a difficult process.

In short, maybe the most important thing you can do for your small group is to be a growing, learning, imperfect Christ-follower.

Imagine the emotional safety of a group led by a leader like that. Imagine how your example would empower your group members to live out their faith. Imagine the thirst for God’s Word in a group of people who are working out their faith each day. Imagine how you might change the world by simply being a small group of authentic Christ-followers.

What do you do to keep yourself grounded in Christ? How do you keep your personal relationship with God as your highest priority in the midst of leadership responsibilities?

posted by Amy Jackson on April 4, 2013 12:42 PM

Related Tags: Authenticity, Character, Leadership, Leadership requirements, Life-change, Preparation


Yes, I agree. As a leader, you need to be a growing, learning, Christ-follower, who can't help but be imperfect. That is one of the requirements for being a leader in the Bible. If you are not that person, you should step down and let someone else lead so you can get your life in order.

However, once you become a maturing Christ-follower, if you accept the responsibility of teaching, then preparation is most important. People do not grow because you can relate to their difficulties, but because you challenge them to respond to their difficulties in a Christ-like manner. People desire to deepen their relationship with Christ, and this happens as they apply the principles in Scripture to their life. The better you prepare, the better you can show people how to deepen their walk with God with the Bible as the source of all you say.

Great post, Amy! I agree 100% Interestingly, I actually responded to your questions at the end of my blog post today: "The Most Important Thing You Do Today: It's Not Reading Your Bible!"

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