How to Develop a "Be Present" Mindset for Small Group Leaders

Being a small group leader is no easy feat. Not only do you have a responsibility to lead your small group in a positive and supportive way, but you also have to better yourself simultaneously. When done right and embraced fully, this role is incredibly rewarding.

Grant Glas
April 11, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

Improving your leadership skills starts with asking yourself a simple question: Do I have a leadership mindset? If you are not sure what this means, and struggle to stay fully present in each of your small group sessions, you have come to the right place.

Keep reading to learn how to better yourself as a leader today, without any extravagant small group leader training resources. Everything you need is available to you—it’s necessary to harness the right mindset and empower the most beneficial thoughts.

Reset Your Mindset

Woman reseting her leadership mindset

It is easy to revert to a fixed mindset in stressful and challenging situations. These are rooted in our preconceived ideas, led by our egos. Whether this manifests as  irresponsibility, impatience, or trying to take control, these negative behavior patterns will push certain members of your small group away, reducing their participation and limiting how much they can get from the small group dynamic.

Instead, resetting your mindset can ground you in your purpose, stopping you from getting caught up in knee-jerk reactions that may cloud your perspective. Whether this is taking a peaceful walk in nature or spending some time talking with God, clearing your head and centering yourself before you lead a small group will help you be the best leader you can be.

What Is a Leadership Mindset?

Group running together

Being a good leader comes from within. It is created in your mindset and strengthened in the way you view your team. Are you open and honest? Do you genuinely want the best for your small group members? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you are on the right track. However, besides creating strong and genuine bonds with the people of your community, you need to take control and show guidance when needed.

An element of decisiveness is essential when demonstrating strong leadership skills. Sometimes, asking your team the direction they want to go in is useful, but it could be mistaken for disorganization or disinterest if every session starts without you taking control. Plan ahead, show that you truly care, and go the extra mile for your team—their success is your success.

How to Be Present

Being present outdoors watching the sunset

We all live busy lives, and staying in the present moment is a challenge. (Why do you think so many people find meditation impossible?!) Being truly present means creating deeper connections with your small group and understanding God on a more meaningful level, too. Prayer and Bible study offer an invaluable time for us to take a break from our busy days and spend a quiet moment connecting with God, and in turn, ourselves.

So, disconnect from your phone and the internet in the build-up to your sessions and throughout. While we have been taught that being completely glued to our electronic devices is necessary, the world will survive if you take an hour or two to go offline. Treat every day as a new day and let go of any hard feelings and resentment to show up to your church members as an inspirational and powerful leader every single day.

Lead, But Don’t Dominate

Team reaching the top of a mountain

You are the one who comes prepared to lead the session and who the others turn to as a point of reassurance and guidance. Having thinking and talking points at the ready to get the discussion flowing between the other members is key. Don’t talk at the group, but realize that you are just a member of it like everyone else. Your role is to facilitate conversation, not to do all the talking. Practice active listening to hear from the heart.

Dynamic and engaging discussion may be the goal, but don’t be afraid of silence. It can be tempting to say anything that comes to mind to fill a lull in the conversation, especially if it feels uncomfortable. But don’t! Remember that the Holy Spirit works through moments of silence, and following the 15-second rule could urge someone to say something that they otherwise wouldn’t. Some people need more time to share.

Leadership and mindset go hand in hand. You can follow all the steps in a textbook guide on leadership, but your mindset will show through in your leadership. I’m sure many of you have asked yourself or the internet, “how to be a great small team leader,” which shows you are definitely on the right track. Asking the questions and showing enthusiasm to do better and improve show that you have the potential to be the leader you strive to be.

Take a moment to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as a leader with these productive questions. Positioning yourself as an objective observer will help you identify ways of improving while also offering space to congratulate yourself for things you do well—that is important, too! If you think you would benefit from additional training, try some of these small group leadership training resources to take you to the next level. 

Be sure to remember that you are doing God’s work, always striving to do great. Keep pushing yourself forward and you will reap the rewards.

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